Asiatic Lions: New reserve on the anvil
NDTV.com By Jay Mazoomdaar
any of them for a proposed sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, even though the
lions in Gir were under threat from poachers, epidemics and natural
But now the Centre has prepared a fresh blueprint for a backup that won't
The 11-year wait for a second home for the endangered Asiatic lion at
Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh will soon be over.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Central Zoo Authority have
a fresh plan ready.
''We will select pure bred Gir lions from different zoos and these first
generation lions will breed in a big natural enclosure which is already
there at Kuno-Palpur. We will release herbivores for the second generation
lions so that they can hunt and get naturalised. In this process, the third
generation lions should be fit to be released in the wild outside the
enclosure,'' said Dr Rajesh Gopal, Member Secretary, NTCA.
The blueprint will be discussed at the next meeting of the National Board
for Wildlife on October 8. Once approved, it will be about four years before
the third generation lions can be released in the wild.
But the initiative may raise eyebrows, considering
Chinese model of releasing captive-bred tigers into the wild.
''We are identifying pure gene lions and they will be kept off display and
bred in natural enclosures with prey species. And the tigers in Chinese
farms are victims of severe inbreeding and can hardly be called tigers,''
said Dr B R Sharma, Member Secretary, CZA.
Kuno-Palpur was selected in 1996 as a second home for the lions but the
in Gir that finally got the authorities moving.
''Forget poaching, even an epidemic can wipe out an isolated population. So
the idea of a second reserve at Kuno but the
agreed. Now we don't need to wait for them anymore,'' said Dr Rajesh Gopal,
Member Secretary, NTCA.
If all goes well, the Kuno-Palpur sanctuary will be the Asiatic lion's
second home by 2011, unless the Modi government now objects to the very idea
of having lions outside