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.