ASIATIC lions are found at only one place in the world - the Gir National Park, Gujarat. Now the Union ministry of environment and forests is planning a second home for them at an estimated cost of about Rs 65 crore in Madhya Pradesh. The project will be spread over five years.
The project gained urgency as environmentalists felt that to have all lions in one pocket is risky. A human-made or natural disaster may wipe out the entire population. According to C P Oberai, special secretary in the ministry of environment and forests, at least two prides (five to ten lions in a pride) of lions will be shifted to Shivpuri, which is about 150 km from Gwalior. "We have a wildlife sanctuary, the Kuno Palpur Sanctuary, near Shivpuri where the lions will be translocated from Gujarat," he said. A lot of planning was needed before such a move could be undertaken, he added. Studies of topography, flora and fauna and climate suitability for lions had to be seen to.
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