Government’s Lion conservation Program

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Government’s Lion conservation Program

  • In 2020, Centre launched a lion conservation programme along the lines of Project Tiger.

About the conservation programme

  • Project identified six sites -two in MP, three in Rajasthan and one in Gujarat-to relocate Asiatic Lions from Gujarat's Gir National Park.
  • These were in addition to Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary which was chosen as an alternative home for animals in 1995.
  • But government's 25 year roadmap for Project Lion makes no mention of relocation.
  • It focuses on assisted natural dispersal of the animal across Saurashtra and potentially to Rajasthan by 2047.

The Asiatic lion and their conservation

  • Asiatic Lion once roamed the forests of north,central and eastern India.
  • Since early 20th century, its range has shrunk to the Gir forest.
  • Conservation experts have been arguing that lion numbers have exceeded Gir's carrying capacity.
  • Concentration of species in one park makes it vulnerable to infectious diseases, such as canine distemper outbreak.
  • But Gujarat government has resisted to relocate animal to Kuno on grounds completely unrelated to conservation.

The new developments

  • Kuno is are making plans to welcome cheetahs from Namibia.
  • Introduction of top predator will improve park's health.
  • A paper showed, Kuno's cheetah population will not be viable even in 40 years.
  • Experts believe Gir lions would have been far more effective in role assigned to the cheetahs.