The two BJP ruled states, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh (MP), are fighting for their ‘pride.’ The two are locked in a fierce battle over relocation of Asiatic lions from Gir sanctuary in Gujarat to Kuno in MP.
In defence to the Gujarat allegations, MP in its latest affidavit before Supreme Court has claimed that its neighboring state has failed to offer the best protection to the specifies that is “dwindling rapidly.”
MP lodged its protest and discredited Gujarat’s “baseless arguments” on why translocation of two prides of lion (between 6 to 8) was impossible. According to MP’s affidavit 72 lions in Gir have died in the last two years, of which 25 died while falling into open wells. There are 8,000 wells in Gir that do not suit the living eco system for the lions.
Gujarat has been opposing the move to translocate the lions to create a second population of Asiatic lions, a project that was developed way back in 1979.
Since 1981 till December last the Centre and MP government have spent over 34 crores to the lion project in Kuno sanctuary. This involved successful rehabilitation of all the 1543 families from inside the sanctuary. For this the government had to divert 4658-hectare forestland.
MP further stated in its affidavit that the factors responsible for the high mortality rate of lions is over crowding in Gir and poaching.
There are around 360 lions in Gir that is spread over 1882.6 square kilometer.
It denied Gujarat government’s claim that reintroduction of few Asiatic Lions in Kuno would be artificial tinkering with
the complex natural eco system and socio cultural traditions.
MP added that reintroduction of the species would not end with the translocation of two pride of lions into Kuno.
“A continued program of exchange of individual lions between Gir and Kuno is needed at the rate of 2-3 lions per
generation. It is envisaged that such exchanges would last for a minimum duration of 25-30 years,” the state government said in its affidavit.