Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.
Context:. A number of conservationists are riled by what they term “wilful contempt of the Supreme Court” that in April 2013 set a six-month deadline for shifting lions to Kuno.
- In fact, a contempt case was dismissed in 2018 after the government assured the Supreme Court that its order would be followed.
- Many blame the Gujarat government for stubbornly refusing to share lions even after its review and curative petitions were dismissed by the SC.
- Instead, Kuno is getting cheetahs ostensibly to serve a host of grassland ecosystem services, all of which could be served by lions, an apex species.
- In fact, the cheetah project is open to introduction of lions to Kuno after the cheetah population settles down.
- But the government’s draft 25-year plan for Project Lion focuses on assisted natural dispersal with no scope for relocation outside Gujarat.
- They are confined to Gir National Park and its surrounding environs in Gujarat’s Saurashtra.In the surrounding sanctuary only Maldharis have the right to take their livestock for grazing.
- As per the 14th Asiatic Lion Census 2005, the lion population was estimated at 523 individuals. In June 2020, an estimation exercise counted 674 Asiatic lions in the Gir forest region, an increase of 29 per cent over the 2015 census figure.
- The Asiatic lion currently exists as a single subpopulation, and is thus vulnerable to extinction from unpredictable events, such as an epidemic or large forest fire.
- It is categorised as endangeredon the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List.