Monday, April 09, 2007

Committee to prepare strategy to save India's lions

New Delhi, April 9

Alarmed at the recent unnatural deaths of lions in the Gir National Park in Gujarat - the only sanctuary of Asiatic lions in the world - the central government Monday formed a committee to devise a strategy to arrest the worrying trend.

According to the composition and the terms of reference of the committee announced by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, it will present an appraisal of protection strategies in vogue vis-a-vis mortality of lions during the last three years.

It will consider the fact that the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the world's last population of the highly endangered Asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica), a ministry release said.

It will also study the resource dependency of local people and steps taken towards redressing interface conflicts and fostering co-existence, managerial constraints in this area and possibility of restorative management in crucial corridor linkages around Gir to prevent insularisation of the lion population.

The committee will also recommend measures to improve the situation.

Meeta Banerjee, regional deputy director (wildlife) for the western region, and her northern region counterpart Santosh Tiwari are members of the committee, while Pramod Krishnan, joint director (wildlife) in the ministry is the member convener.

Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, said the committee may co-opt state officials as required and submit its report within 30 days.

The committee formation comes in the backdrop of reports of six lions falling prey to poachers in the past one month.

No comments: