Good Indian lion news


This video from India says about itself:

Dec 25, 2012

The Last Refuge is a film on the natural history and the conservation issues related to the Asiatic Lion, a critically endangered species which survives in the wild only in the Gir Forest and adjoining area in Gujarat. The last specimen in Pakistan died in 1842 and after the middle of the nineteenth century the entire species was wiped out except in India where only 12 lions were left in 1880. All lions in Gir are descendants of the once surviving 12 lions of the area. Inbreeding has caused a weakening of the gene pool.

The Gir Forest in Gujarat is as old as 3000 years and there are people living inside the forest whose heritage is almost 1000 years old. The forest has the highest density of top carnivores. The thick scrub forest and a shortage of prey do not allow the Asiatic Lion to hunt in prides. The Asian lion often stalks the prey individually. Both sexes participate simultaneously in eating as against the African custom of first allowing the lion to have his share. An adult lion may consume 10 to 20 kg of meat. During difficult times it can go without food for more than 10 days.

The presence of human population and livestock in and around the forest together with a reduction in genetic quality in the lions has pushed the species to the point of extinction. There are just a little over 400 of these magnificent animals left in the wild. The loss of habitat is forcing some to leave the forest.

From Wildlife Extra:

Indian court rules in favour of translocating Asiatic lions to new reserve

“Human Assisted Dispersal” of India’s lions will be a very good development

April 2013. India’s Supreme Court’s recent judgment permitting translocation of some of the endangered Asiatic Lions from Gujarat’s Gir National Park to Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh is considered to be a good and essential step for the long-term survival of the species.

Rationale

The re-introduction of Asiatic Lions into some part of their former range, which once existed from West Asia to eastern parts of India, has long been debated at various levels. Commenting on the re-introduction of Asiatic Lions in Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary, Dr Asad Rahmani, Director, BNHS said “It is a very good development and we welcome the move. Relocating some lions is a wonderful idea for the long-term survival of the species and should have been done much earlier”.

Explaining the rationale, he added that the region where the re-introduction would take place was formerly a part of the natural range of Asiatic Lions. Lions are adaptable animals and can withstand the high temperatures in central India. They were also found in a wide range of habitats and climatic conditions in their former range across Asia. Dr Rahmani who is also a member of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has been quoted in the recent judgment saying that that sporadic presence of tigers in Kuno was in no case detrimental to re-introduction of lions.

Human Assisted Dispersal required as no forest corridors exist

BNHS observes that whenever natural dispersal of wild species is not possible any longer due to lack of habitat corridors because of human activities and settlements, it is essential to have Human Assisted Dispersal. Dr Rahmani elaborates on the point saying that although there has been good growth in the numbers of Asiatic Lions in Gujarat following conservation measures, there are no forest corridors available at present for the animals to disperse to other areas of their former range in other states. In such cases Human Assisted Dispersal is required. The same can be used for other threatened species on case to case basis.

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is fully behind re-introduction of lions to Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary. BNHS is of the opinion that many other threatened species can be conserved using this approach wherever it is necessary and appropriate to do so.

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