The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has launched the ‘Asiatic Lion Conservation Project’ . It aims to protect and conserve the world’s last wild population of Asiatic Lion – a species endemic to the Gir, Gujarat.
The 3 year long conservation project which has a “Species Conservation over a large landscape” focuses on a) disease management, b) habitat improvement and eco-development, c) robust wildlife health service with a dedicated veterinary institute, d) addressing to man-wild animal conflict issues, e) voluntary relocation of Protect Area inhabitants ( Maldhari tribe), f) monitoring and tracking of animals, g) creating a wildlife crime cell, and h) ecotourism.
Asiatic Lion, a pantherine cat, is listed as ‘Endangered’ under the IUCN Red List and is exposed to severe threats like – a) growing lion population and shrinking habitat, b) vulnerability to diseases, c) death from linear infrastructure such as road, rail and electric fences and d) man-animal conflict.
In 2013, the Supreme Court had directed the translocation of lions from Gujarat to Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. This was on grounds that concentration in one area makes them vulnerable to extinction from unpredictable events like epidemic or natural calamity.