CHENNAI: The 370 Asiatic Lions in the Gir forest, Gujarat, are facing extinction due to epidemics, fire and cyclone, Ravi Chellam, Country Director, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bangalore, said here on Saturday.
Dr. Ravi Chellam, who made a presentation, said a group of scientists led by him conducted a study on trans-locating a small number of lions from Gir to overcome this problem.
They found the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh as most suited to house them as it had large tracts of forests.
The study was done in 1993-94 and in 1995 the team submitted the trans-location proposal to the Union government at a meeting attended by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh officials.
The suggested timeline for shifting was 2005 but due to strong political opposition the plan was not implemented.
Dr. Ravi Chellam said the animals were in good health. Moving them from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh was not a problem. Technology was there and in Africa tens and thousands of animals of different species were trans-located every year.
“We lack willingness”
“We lack willingness, long-term vision and support for conservation,” which was threatening the survival of the big cats, he said.