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SC order to shift Gir lions will ensure their survival: Bahar Dutt

IBNLive.com
Apr 16, 2013 at 06:25pm IST

The Supreme Court has ruled that some numbers of Asiatic Lions, till now only limited to the Gir forests in Gujarat, should be relocated to Madhya Pradesh. The court holds that in case of a natural calamity or outbreak of an epidemic, this will give the species a better chance of survival. CNN-IBN's Environment Editor Bahar Dutt joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. Does this also pave the way for introduction of the Asiatic Cheetahs? Asked by: Hemant

SC order to shift Gir lions will ensure their survival: Bahar Dutt

Will the Supreme Court order to create a second habitat for Asiatic Lions ensure the species' survival?

A. hi Hemant, the SC has cancelled the introduction of Asiatic cheetah.

Q. On what grounds SC has given this order? Asked by: jignish

A. hi Jignish, the SC heard detailed arguments from MP and Gujarat government. Finally it based its order on sound scientific principles!

Q. What can the Gujarat govt do? Asked by: leena

A. hi Leena, well Gujarat govt has the option to challenge the order, I know they are quite upset by it. But I think someone needs to assuage their doubts that Gir will always have the largest populations of the Asiatic lion, anyways only a few animals will be moved out to MP.

Q. Is this necessarily a good thing, considering it would require more vigilance and monitoring? Asked by: Gaurango Ghose

A. hi Gaurango, I think its a good thing, its like money in the bank. What you are doing is developing a safety net for your seed population which is concentrated just in one reserve.

Q. Were the lions not taken care of in Gujarat well that they are now shifted to MP. Asked by: Rajesh

A. Rajesh the lions were in fact very well looked after in Gir. But the problem is they are only confined to this one small area. Should a disease or an epidemic strike the region we will lose all our Asiatic lions. That's why the idea of creating another reserve.

Q. Is it a partial move or all the lions will be shifted to MP..were they unsafe in Gujarat? Asked by: Rohit

A. Rohit the lions were in fact very well looked after in Gir. But the problem is they are only confined to this one small area. Should a disease or an epidemic strike the region we will lose all our Asiatic lions. That's why the idea of creating another reserve.

Q. What will be the impact on Gujarat tourism? Asked by: Karthik

A. hi Karthik, good question, I don't think there will be any impact as Gir will still have the largest populations. Also only a few individuals will be shifted and at least initially the reserve in MP will not be open to tourists!

Q. Is the translocation of Asiatic lions to Madhya Pradesh justified? Asked by: Priya

A. Well its justified if you consider principles of wildlife biology for sure. All your species are concentrated in one reserve, should a disease strike the area the Asiatic lion will be in trouble. So yes its a good decision I think at least for now.

Q. There is larger question about suitability of MP for lions keeping difference in weahter and other conditions in mind. Animals are always better in larger groups. Making them in small numbers is like creating a Zoo. Do you agree? Asked by: Anuj

A. Anuj yes there is that danger but hopefully, the lions will be able to breed and multiply and we will have another reserve in India with the Asiatic lion how wonderful is that?!

Q. Why should Gujarat gov has any problem if some of the lions are moved out..is that is will affect their tourism as now people will go to MP to see the lions. Asked by: Rajinesh

A. I think Gujarat was worried about tourism you are right I agree I don't think that should be the principle concern. But yes MP must keep the lions safe.

Q. Will the Supreme Court order to create a second habitat for Asiatic Lions ensure the species' survival? Asked by: Sunil

A. I think it will definitely ensure a back up population for the species that's just concentrated in one area in India. And Gujarat must realize it cannot have exclusive access to a species, that's what the Apex Court was trying to say.

Q. Why not the same logic for Cheetah? Asked by: Pradeep

A. hi Pradeep good question! Well in the case of the Cheetah we would have to get individuals from Africa. So the logic was why not conserve what we have properly such as the Asiatic Lion than get in a species from another country.

Q. Moving lions out of Gujarat from a larger pool is like forcefully relocating some members of the family, for no fault of theirs. We need to permit animals in family the way they enjoy. We do not have any right to interfere in their life. There is no guaranty that lions would be better in MP. When it comes to human we do not split families do we? Asked by: Neville

A. hi, Neville I think they will try not to split the pride, the move will be supervised by wildlife scientists and hopefully will ensure that the pride is not disturbed.

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