Gujarat to set up diagnostic centre to pre-empt fatal infectious diseases in Asiatic lions

By: |
August 11, 2021 4:19 PM

The Gujarat chief minister added that the lion population had increased 29 per cent in the past five years, adding that the big cat habitat was now spread over 30,000 sq km, covering Gir, Chotila, Amreli, Sayala, and Bhavnagar.

asiatic lions in gujaratThere is a proposal to relocate some Asiatic lions to Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh to diversify the animals’ habitat

Gujarat will set up a state-of-the-art disease diagnostic and research facility for the conservation of Asiatic lions and to pre-empt and any fatal infectious diseases, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said.

Speaking during a virtual celebration on the occasion of World Lion Day, which the state government has been celebrating since 2016, Rupani said lions symbolised strength and holiness. The Indian emblem also has three lion faces, he added.

Rupani said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who worked towards the animals’ conservation during his tenure as Gujarat chief minister, had a special attachment for the animal and granted Rs 2,000 crore for their conservation.

The Gujarat chief minister added that the lion population had increased 29 per cent in the past five years, adding that the big cat habitat was now spread over 30,000 sq km, covering Gir, Chotila, Amreli, Sayala, and Bhavnagar.

Rupani said on the diagnostic and research centre that the state-of-the-art facility would ensure that no lions were lost to infectious diseases in the future.

Lion population
Habitat loss and hunting had led to the decimation of lion populations across their traditional homes across the world. The Indian lion population has also declined drastically, being classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered. Despite the bounce-back in the numbers, the animal remains vulnerable to several threats.

Reports suggest the lion population has grown in or around human areas in Gujarat, leading to a rise in attacks by the big cats.

Although it is still unclear why the animals are leaving their habitats, conservationists argue that the Gir protected area was too small for the growing Asiatic lion population. As their population has risen, so have incidents of attacks on humans.

There is a proposal to relocate some Asiatic lions to Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh to diversify the animals’ habitat. However, the project has been stalled, despite the Supreme Court’s intervention, as the Gujarat government has refused to co-operate.

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