To enjoy additional benefits
CONNECT WITH US
March 28, 2023 09:31 pm | Updated March 29, 2023 02:18 am IST - NEW DELHI
Introducing lions from Gir in Gujarat into Kuno National Park may create tension between the pride and the cheetahs imported in the past few months from Namibia and South Africa, the government told the Supreme Court on March 28.
The government said it needs six months to re-examine whether members of the Asiatic lion population “thriving” in Gir need to be translocated to Kuno in Madhya Pradesh where the cheetahs are finding their feet in the new habitat.
The Centre recommended a “stress-free environment” for the cheetahs.
“The introduction of cheetahs in India is being done as per the guidelines of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Post the mandatory quarantine period, the cheetahs have been released into larger enclosures and free ranging conditions.
“They have started hunting on their own. In order to provide the cheetahs a stress-free environment for successful establishment of the founder populations, it is not appropriate to introduce one more large carnivore species [lions] in the area immediately. It would be detrimental for the survival of both the species owing to inter-species competition,” the government said in an affidavit.
The government added that though cheetahs are known to coexist, the cheetahs which are competitively subordinate and vulnerable species should be released prior to the lions, the dominant species.
Eight cheetahs were transported from Namibia to Kuno on September 17 last year in a “historic first wild-to-wild intercontinental translocation of a large carnivore”.
Subsequently, 12 cheetahs were brought from South Africa to Kuno on February 18, 2023.
The government said intensive workshops are being held for better cheetah management and successful establishment of a “cheetah meta-population” in India.
The government and the National Tiger Conservation Authority said it was no longer necessary for them to take the guidance and advice of an expert committee appointed by the apex court in January 2020.
The government said the Asiatic lion population in Gujarat has grown by almost 29% in the last five years. The prides are dispersing into larger areas. Several meta populations of lions have been established across the landscape.
“The lion population is thriving with 674 individuals as per June 2020 estimates compared to 411 in 2010… For securing the future of Asiatic lions in the country, the Union government has launched the Asiatic Lion Project for long term conservation of the species,” the Centre submitted.
BACK TO TOP
Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.
We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.