Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Plans for second population of Asiatic lions to be released in Madhya Pradesh

Credit Kishore Kotecha
August 2008. Madhya Pradesh plans to create a new population of Asiatic lions, the first outside of Gir forest and Gujarat. Two pairs of Asiatic lions that have been obtained from zoos will be used as a breeding population in the hope that their decendants will be let loose in the Kuno Palpur sanctuary to start a new population.

It is hoped that once their numbers grow in the coming years, they will establish a secure breeding population. However, Wildlife Extra has major doubts as to the potential of this initiative, as releasing captive lions into the wild is very likely to fail. Madhya Pradesh plans to open the sanctuary to tourists if the release is a success, but Wildlife Extra questions the motives behind the release, commercial or scientific?

It is believed that zoos in Bhopal, New Delhi and Hyderabad have agreed to provide lions for breeding in Kuno, after the state of Gujarat refused to provide wild lions allowing Kuno to become an alternate habitat for the Asiatic lion. Gujarat prides itself on being the only home of the Asiatic lion which is a draw for tourists. However, Madhya Pradesh hopes to steal a march over Gujarat by releasing the lions.

Kuno breeding centre
Kuno would begin as a breeding centre. But as the breeding succeeds, the plan is to release the third generation of lions into the forest. It is hoped that this will provide 5 pairs of lions to be released into Kuno within about 10 years.

Source: http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/asiatic-lions909.html

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