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Gujarat’s pride in way of MP,Asiatic lion

It’s almost official. Madhya Pradesh is not getting Asiatic Lions from Gujarat because the latter has linked the proposed translocation to its “Gujarat Asmita (Gujarat’s pride)”....

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal |
September 13, 2009 2:03:24 am

It’s almost official. Madhya Pradesh is not getting Asiatic Lions from Gujarat because the latter has linked the proposed translocation to its “Gujarat Asmita (Gujarat’s pride)”. “I wrote to Chief Minister Narendra Modi twice but the state has refused to part with its lions,” Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Saturday.

A meeting of the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife will be held in Delhi on September 16. Ramesh,who will chair the meeting,said it would discuss Madhya Pradesh’s proposal to shift zoo-bred lions to Kuno Palpur in the face of Gujarat’s refusal.

Crores of rupees have been spent on creating an alternative home in Madhya Pradesh for the Asiatic lion whose only home is Gujarat’s Gir sanctuary.

Residents of 24 villages have been shifted out of Kuno Palpur in Sheopur district but Gujarat has refused to spare its lions by citing “its better conservation record; by questioning MP’s ability to protect the big cat saying it failed to protect its tigers; and above all linking it to the local pride”.

Ramesh said MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had a better chance of convincing Modi because both states are ruled by the BJP. But the truth is the translocation did not take off even during the period when the NDA was ruling the Centre and both states had BJP governments.

‘Many Pannas and Sariskas waiting to happen’

Jairam Ramesh said he would wait for the Madhya Pradesh to complete its probe in the disappearance of tigers from Panna reserve. Refusing to blame individuals for the big cat’s disappearance,he said for years the census figures were exaggerated and incorrect because wrong methodology was being followed. “It was a system failure. Same pugmarks were counted over and over again,” he said adding that a more scientific census will be carried out by October 2010. Citing an example,he said the Sunderbans were believed to have 250 tigers when the actual count was no more than 10.

“Out of 37,only 9 tiger reserves are in good shape,12 are in satisfactory condition and 16 in very poor shape,” he said admitting that “there are many Panna and Sariskas waiting to happen”.

ENS

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