Bhopal, Aug. 18 (PTI): The Madhya Pradesh government has sought over Rs 7 crore from the Centre to shift lions from Gujarat’s Gir to Kuno sanctuary.
On April 15, the Supreme court had ruled that some Asiatic lions from Gir should be moved to Kuno from time to time as an insurance against an epidemic wiping them out forever..
“...the Supreme Court has passed final orders on the shifting of Asiatic lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh directing the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to take urgent steps for their reintroduction,” P.K. Shukla, the former principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), has said in a letter written to the environment ministry.
“The hon’ble court has set a time limit of six months from the date of issuance of court’s order for reintroduction of lions. As the time limit is brief for such a huge task, we were eagerly expecting directions from (the) MoEF regarding the course of action, but we have not received any directions from the central government so far,” he added.
A copy of the letter, written on May 16, has been accessed by wildlife activist Ajay Dubey, through an RTI query.
The letter also mentions details of annual plan expenditure of operations to carry out impending works for reintroduction of lions and sought central assistance.
Shukla had sought a grant of Rs 7.37 crore for various works, including transportation of animals, strengthening of protection infrastructure and habitat development among others at the sanctuary, located about 300km from Bhopal.
Dubey said: “Four months have already passed and not much is being done on the shifting of lions. We will write to the MoEF in this regard as well as to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to shift lions as early as possible.”
The activist had earlier filed a PIL demanding a ban on tourism inside tiger reserves across the country and restructuring of government policies in this regard, which was granted by the apex court.
Currently, there are around 400 Asiatic lions in Gir sanctuary.