Remember the campaign “Save the tigers” where the number 1,411 (remaining number of tigers) was the strong peg that shaped public opinion in the country and there was a swelling of ground support for tiger conservation. But when it comes to the king of jungle, forget campaigns, there is not even talk of basic conservation about saving lions, despite Supreme Court orders given eight years back.
At present Asiatic lions are present only in Gir Sanctuary, Gujarat and there is genuine fear that they might all be wiped out due to an epidemic. To ensure that such a thing doesn't happen it was decided that lions would be introduced in Madhya Pradesh.The Gujarat government was supposed to provide some lions to Madhya Pradesh, but the Gujarat government refuses to part with them, and over the years they have come up with innovative excuses and delaying tactics. On their part, the Madhya Pradesh government has also not pressed the Gujarat government too hard for the lions as both states have the same party in power, say forest officials in condition of anonymity.
“On forest department's front, we have been sending letters and filling it all the essential documents,” Rajneesh Singh, forest official, said. He added that the last requested document from central committee was replied to by the department.
Contempt discharged, committee formed in 2018
In 2018, SC has discharged the contempt notice in the petition filed by Madhya Pradesh-based wildlife activist, Ajay Dubey, demanding action against concerned authorities including the Gujarat and Union governments for not implementing the apex court’s order for lion translocation passed in April 2013.
“An outbreak of possible epidemic or natural calamity may wipe off the entire species. A smaller population with limited genetic strength are more vulnerable to diseases and other catastrophes in comparison to large and widespread population,” SC order said.
The Union minister of forest and environment had assured the court that the 12-member committee, formed according to the apex court’s order of April 2013, will meet later this month and the minutes will be placed before the court.
But then again, following some paper work, the orders remain ignored and lion’s populations continues to be threatened.
Another lion-less year for MP
More than a 8 years after Supreme Court order, investment of Rs 100 crore for securing place, MP fails to celebrate World Lion Day with lions in the wild, as Gujarat government refused to part with lions.
Silent Extinction: PM celebrates ‘steady increase’
However, it seems that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others are happy with ‘steady increase’ in lion population over the years.
Lions, listed as "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, have lost a vast majority of their habitat -- and as a result their population -- primarily because of conflict with humans, poaching, and trophy hunting.
Despite being an essential part of our ecology and even culture, Asiatic lions stand threatened and vulnerable having only one habitat in the entire country.
"MP government is silent, as it seems that nobody wants to annoy PM Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah as they both hail from Gujarat." MP forest official
“Yet, the magnificent beast is on the verge of a silent extinction across the world!” Singh said.
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