The Maharashtra forest department has asked its Telangana counterpart for two pairs of breeding lions to increase the animal population at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). The SGNP has also sought two tigers from Nagpur’s Gorewada Zoo.
Earlier, SGNP authorities had sent a proposal to Chief Wildlife Warden of Maharashtra, Nitin Kakodkar, requesting two pairs of lions for captive lion safari and two tigers at SGNP.
Currently, there are three sibling lions in SGNP: two male Ravindra (17) and Jespa (9) and a female Gopa (9). Since inbreeding of wild cats is not allowed by the Central Zoo authority, SGNP has requested for a breeding pair of lions. The state government had also requested Gujarat for a lion. However, the state hasn’t received a positive response as yet. Officials said they are still pursuing the matter with Gujarat. In August, Maharashtra’s Minister for Forest Sanjay Rathod had submitted a proposal to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to request the Gujarat government and the Centre to expedite the translocation of at least one lion to SGNP. City’s Byculla zoo has also requested a lion from the Gir National Park in Gujarat.
Officials from the state department said as the Gir National Park has the highest population of lions in the country, it gets multiple requests from various zoos and parks. “We are pursuing the case with Gujarat authorities. We have also sent a letter to the Telangana government for transferring two pairs of lions to the park. With the increase in the lion’s population, lion safari can resume in the park,” said Sunil Limaye, additional principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife-west).
SGNP has also requested the state to get a captive tiger from Gorewada zoo.
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