NEW DELHI: The PM on August 15 announced the launch of Project Lion for conservation of the Asiatic Lion, but the Centre is yet to execute a Supreme Court order of 2013 for ensuring translocation of the wild cats from Gujarat to another state to protect them from possible extinction in case of an epidemic.
“In the recent past, the tiger population has increased at a rapid pace in the country. Now a Project Lion for our Asiatic lions is also going to be started in the country,” the PM said. Gujarat’s Gir National Park is the only abode of Asiatic Lion in the world. According to the latest count, the lion population has registered an increase of 25 per cent in the last five years and now stands at 674.
But, this has become a cause of concern for the authorities as they recognise growing challenges of habitat protection. According to a senior ministry official, translocation will not be part of the Project Lion and it’s being looked at by an expert committee set up by the ministry on the directions of the apex court.
“Project Lion will entail habitat development, engage modern technologies in lion management and address the issues of disease in lion and its associated species through advanced world class research and veterinary care.
It will also address human-wildlife conflict and will be inclusive involving local communities living in the vicinity of lion landscape,” said Union environment ministry. The plan for translocation of lions from Gir to Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh dates back to 1993-94. But things have not moved so far because of the reluctance of the Gujarat government to share wild cats.
Ladakh to be carbon neutral
PM Modi said that just as Sikkim has made its mark as an organic state, in the coming days, Ladakh will make its identity as a carbon neutral region and work is being done in this direction. Carbon neutrality is neutral net CO2 emissions due to human activities.