NEW DELHI: In a bid to protect and conserve lions, identified as one of the endangered species by the government, the Ministry of Environment Friday launched a three-year Asiatic Lion Conservation Project in collaboration with the state of Gujarat, which is the last habitat of the big cat.
The Rs 98-crore project, for which the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has allocated Rs 59 crores, spans three years -- 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 -- will focus on better management of the lion habitat, disease control and veterinary care for them.
While launching the project, Union minister Harsh Vardhan released an amount of Rs 17 crore to the Gujarat government for the implementation of the project aimed to protect over 600 lions in the state's Gir sanctuary in its first year.
The minister assured the state that this project will be a model scheme in the times to come and would not be like a routine affair.
"I am very happy that efforts are being made to conserve lions. It is God's blessing that such initiatives are taken for wildlife in our country. I assure the Gujarat government that this will not just be a routine project but a model scheme for wildlife in India in the times to come," Vardhan said.
The project will use modern information and communication technology for conservation and protection efforts of the Great Gir Region, including GPS-based animal and vehicle tracking, automated sensor grid with movement sensors, night vision capability and real-time monitoring and report generation, the government said.
In addition, a Gujarat government official said that Rs 80 crore will be spent on specialised veterinary hospitals and full-fledged ambulances for lions.