Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Adopt Gir lion as national animal, says Parimal Nathwani
Ahmedabad, March 13:
The Rajya Sabha Member from Jharkhand, Mr Parimal Nathwani, has urged the Government of India to adopt the Asiatic lion of Gir forest in Gujarat as the country’s national animal.
Mr Nathwani, who is also the Group President of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), raised the issue in the Upper House during the Question Hour, according to a press release here on Tuesday.
The Union Minister of Environment and Forest, Ms Jayanti Natarajan, replied that the Bengal tiger continued to be India’s national animal and there was no proposal under consideration with the Government to replace it with the Asiatic lion.
The Bengal tiger was adopted as India’s national animal in the place of lion at a meeting of the Indian Board for Wildlife in 1972. The main reasons were that tiger was important worldwide, it existed in 16 states in the country, and it needed to be protected strictly. On the other hand, lion was found only in one state, the Minister’s reply said.
The Government, however, admitted that the Gir forest was the only abode of Asiatic lion, Panthera leo persica, in the world. The population of Asiatic lions in Gir National Park, sanctuary and other areas of Greater Gir was estimated at 411 by the Government of Gujarat in 2010.
The Planning Commission had approved, in principle, a project for the “Conservation of Asiatic lion in Greater Gir Region” to be implemented by the Gujarat Government over a period of five years at a cost of Rs 262.36 crore, including Central assistance of Rs 236.63 crore. The project also included creation of infrastructure for the promotion of eco-tourism in the Gir forest.
PM should head Gir lions project: RIL group President.
Vadodara, March 14:
The Group President of Reliance Industries Ltd and MP, Mr Parimal Nathwani, has demanded that the ‘Gir Lions Project’ should be headed by the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh.
Mr Nathwani, President of the Vadodara Stock Exchange Ltd, has also demanded that the Asiatic lion should be made the national animal, replacing the tiger.
“It is high time that the Gir lions project be headed by not less than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the lines of ‘Project Tiger’,” Mr Nathwani told PTI over phone yesterday.
“I met the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest, Ms Jayanti Natarajan, and discussed the matter with her,” he said.
Mr Nathwani said according to Ms Natarajan, the Bengal tiger continues to be the national animal as there is no proposal under consideration to replace it with the Asiatic lion.
Mr Nathwani added that the cause of the Gir lions is close to his heart and he would continue to take it up at the appropriate level.
He said he has requested the Government to set aside more funds for the cause.
The Planning Commission has given in-principle approval to a project for the ‘Conservation of the Asiatic lion in the Greater Gir Region’ to be implemented by the Government of Gujarat over a period of five years at a cost of Rs 262.36 crore, which includes the Centre’s assistance of Rs 236.63 crore.
According to estimates, there are around 411 Asiatic lions in the Gir National Park and other areas of Greater Gir according to the last Gir lions census conducted in April 2010.