Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Asiatic Lion Translocation
A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to my trusted friend and colleague Dr. Faiyaz Khudsar (pls friend) for playing his key role in the tenacious and successful campaign spanning two decades towards winning court approval for translocating a number of Asiatic lions from Gir National Park, Gujarat, India, to the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Faiyaz and I worked closely on a daily basis at the Kanha Tiger Reserve (1996-1999), and is a key character in my book [OMNI-SCIENCE and the Human Destiny] with my 3rd trip in 1999 as its background story. (The e-version of the book is free for the asking.)
The highly endangered Asiatic Lion used to span a broad range from the Middle East to SE Asia, but has since been reduced to a single population at Gir, which however has enjoyed a modest population increase in recent years. The reason for seeking the translocation of a part of this population to Kuno is to prevent a sudden crash and possible extinction due to disease and unforeseen natural or human imposed environmental pressures. The Indian Cheetah was declared extinct in 1999. We don't want the same tragedy to befall the Indian Lion.
The court battle stemmed from the Gujarati state government's reluctance and refusal to cooperate, citing that the Asiatic Lion was a state treasure, not to be shared with Madhya Pradesh. Thankfully, in the wisdom of the Indian high court, which favoured eco-centricism over anthropo-centricism, the project has been granted.
Faiyaz, a wildlife biologist, was instrumental in ascertaining that Kuno, in fact, provides a higher prey density than Gir for the sustenance of the translocated lions, which will share with a few occasionally sighted tigers.
A difficult and expensive part of the project entails the voluntary relocation of 24 villages hitherto inhabiting Kuno, comprising some 1600 families. Each family is being allocated 2 hectare of fertile land and sufficient money to start over. This monumental task has by and large been accomplished.
For those interested, this highly complex court verdict is detailed in the following pdf document provided to me by Dr. Khudsar himself.
Picture shows Faiyaz Khudsar with Anthony Marr at Kanha Tiger Reserve, 1999, in front of a demo solar oven for displacing wood-burning.
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)