Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Guj opposes in SC move to translocate Asiatic lions to MP

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 02,2012 New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) Gujarat today opposed in the Supreme Court any effort by the Centre to translocate Asiatic lions from its Gir sanctuary to Kuno Palpur wildlife sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh. Appearing before a special forest bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and C K Prasad, senior counsel Shyam Divan said the state had sufficient wherewithal and will to conserve the lions' population and it was not advisable to translocate them. The state said that instead efforts should be made for translocation of the extinct cheetah from South Africa to Kuno Palpur and only after sufficient time efforts if any should be made to add lions gradually to that sanctuary. Otherwise "lions will not allow the cheetahs to survive in the sanctuary". Further, he said that both the animals being predators it would be difficult for them to find sufficient preys in the sanctuary immediately. The state government is fighting a legal battle in the Supreme Court against translocation of lions in the wake of a PIL filed by an environment group seeking their translocation to Madhya Pradesh. Assailing the assumption that lions were becoming extinct in Gujarat, the counsel quoting statistics from the Wildlife Institute of India claimed that population of tigers in Panna forest reserve of Madhya Pradesh had shown a steady decline as there is no single tiger there by 2009 as against 25 in 2002. It is on account of "systemic failure" involving the forest and bureaucratic officials that the tiger population had come down in Madhya Pradesh, the counsel said. Quoting a number of earlier apex court rulings, the state argued that issues relating to wildlife and translocations should be left to the discretion of the experts and courts should not interfere in such matters.

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