Narendra Modi govt to file review petition on lions translocation issue
The Gujarat State Wildlife Board (GSWF), today decided to file a review petition against the Supreme Court order for translocation of some Asiatic lions from Gir to Kuno-Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. The meeting chaired by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi expressed regret that the Supreme Court has totally ignored the facts presented by the state government and GSWB against the translocation.
"It was unanimously decided in the meeting of the board to challenge the Supreme Court decision to translocate only surviving Asiatic Lions from Gir," Forest minister Ganpat Vasava told reporters after the meeting.
"We will file a review petition," he added.
Translocation of lions has become an issue with between the two BJP ruled states of Gujarat and MP, as the former has been constantly opposing the move proposed by the National Wildlife Board.
The apex court had earlier this month directed the Centre to shift the Asiatic lions from the Gir forest to Kuno sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, saying the big cats need a second home to prevent their extinction due to some epidemic or large forest fire.
Currently, Gujarat's Gir sanctuary is the only home to Asiatic lions in the world. A century ago, Gir housed around 100 Asiatic lions, whose number, as per the last census conducted in 2010, stood at over 400.
The state has been opposing the relocation of lions, considered as "pride of Gujarat".
Wildlife expert Luvkumar Kachar said, "The Supreme Court has not listened to the views of GSWB which had given an opinion against the translocation of lions. If view of state board is not taken into consideration then why have such boards".
Gujarat had raised the issue of rampant poaching of tigers in MP, low prey base in the Kuno sanctuary and the harsh climatic conditions in the reserve forest area which they say would be counter-productive for survival of the translocated lions.