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Like the Gir lions relocate other threatened species too

                                                                                 The hindu Business Line, Mumbai, 21st April, 2013
 
After Asiatic lions, the Government needs to look at relocating other threatened species, according to officials from the Bombay Natural History Society.

Following the Supreme Court’s recent judgment permitting translocation of some endangered Asiatic Lions from Gujarat`s Gir National Park to the Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has said several other threatened species could be conserved using a similar approach.

The re-introduction of Asiatic lions in some parts of their former range, which once stretched from West Asia to the eastern fringes of India, has been debated at various levels, BNHS officials said.

"Relocating some of the lions is a wonderful idea for the long term survival of the species and should have been done much earlier,” said Asad Rahmani, Director, and BNHS.

Explaining the rationale, he added that the region where the re-introduction would take place was formerly a part of the natural range of Asiatic Lions. "Lions are adaptable animals and can withstand high temperatures that are observed in central India. They were also found in a wide range of habitats and climatic conditions in their former range across Asia," he added.

Rahmani, who is also a member of the National Board for Wildlife, has also been quoted in the recent judgment as saying that the sporadic presence of tigers in Kuno would not be detrimental to the re-introduction of lions.

Elaborating further, he added that though there has been good growth in the numbers of Asiatic Lions in Gujarat following conservation measures, there are no forest corridors available at present for the animals to disperse to other areas of their former range in other States.
amritanair.ghaswalla@thehindu.co.in