Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lions to roar in Vibrant Gujarat

| TNN |
AHMEDABAD: Not just investments and business, the next edition of Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit will also be looking at fostering cultural co-operation. To begin with, Gujarat and Kenya will work jointly in lion conservation and promotion of wildlife tourism focused on big cats.

The possibility of cooperation was discussed during a recent visit of Vibrant Gujarat delegation to Kenya. "We decided to formally share best practices in lion conservation, including scientific study of both Asiatic and African lions.Kenya has good wildlife focused tourism model, which we can also adopt," said N Srivastava, managing director, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd (TGCL), who was also part of the delegation to Kenya.

"Gujarat and Kenya or Africa for that matter, have two major connecting dots. One is lions and other Gujaratis settled in African nations. We met top government officials of Kenya, who look after lion conservation and wildlife tourism.Here in Gujarat we also focus heavily on conservation of lions. So we discussed possibility of mutual co-operation centered on lions," he added.

Experts in tourism opine that both Gujarat and Kenya can learn from each other in the field of wildlife. Kenya has developed lions safari in such a way that it ensures safety of lions. The African nation has used latest technology to protect the natural habitats. This can be emulated by Gujarat.

The population of lions in Africa, including Kenya, is dwindling with the entire continent left with 20,000 to 30,000 as per different sources including International Union for Conservation of Nature. Kenya has 2,000 majestic cats. Gujarat has done well in lion conservation with population rising to 523 as per census 2015.

The state government may also sign an MoU with Kenya for conservation initiatives during the summit in January 2017. Probably , it will be the first cultural tie-up at the summit.

"Our focus will be on cultural exchange and knowledge sharing about lions," said Srivastava, who is also a senior Indian Forest Service officer. "Such co-operation will boost wild-life tourism and create awareness about it," said Manish Sharma

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