The depleting forest cover, rising man-human conflict and unethical practices like poaching has affected the royalty of the jungle as well. On August 10, 2022, environmentalists, animal lovers gather to celebrate World Lion Day, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the animal. Lions are currently on the verge of going extinct, and this event is also a way to show our support for the conservation of these animals.
Around three million years ago, lions were thought to have wandered across Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. However, due to various factors, the global lion population has decreased by about 95%, World Lion Day is observed annually to raise awareness about the importance of conserving the species.
In 2013, World Lion Day was established to raise awareness about the importance of protecting wild cats. It was founded by Beverly and Dereck Joubert, who are the founders of the Big Cat Initiative. Their goal was to work with local authorities to ensure the safety of the animals.
World Lion Day-significance
The goal of World Lion Day is to raise awareness about the protection of lions. They are considered a vulnerable species due to their loss of habitat and are found on the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). According to NewsOnAIR, there are around 30,000 to 100,000 lions left in the world. It is very important that the public is aware of the threats that these animals face so that they can put efforts to protect their natural habitat, and build more of these kinds of habitats.
Lion Population in India
Despite the decreasing number of wild lions globally, they have settled naturally in India. This is because the country has the only known population of wild lions outside of Africa. In Gir Forest, for instance, the population of lions has continuously expanded.
The number of Asiatic lions in Gujarat’s Gir forest and the Saurashtra protected area has increased significantly over the past couple of years. From 2015 to 2020, the population of these animals grew from 523 to 674. African lions, on the other hand, are distant relatives of these animals in India.
What the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change is doing to protect lions
In an effort to protect the king of the jungle, the forest department has planted various trees in coastal areas. These are designed to provide the animals with a similar habitat to that found in Gir.
Activists have also called for relocating these animals to the Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.
In April 2013, the Supreme Court of India ordered the Gujarat government to give the lions to the Madhya Pradesh forest department within six months to ensure that they don’t get affected by natural disasters such as an epidemic or a massive forest fire and also to increase its genetic pool.
Following the court’s order, the Gujarat government filed a review petition. A curative petition was also filed in 2014, but it was dismissed in October. Then the state government insisted, on completing more than 30 studies before translocating lions.
On August 15, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Lion Project, which identified seven sites in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh for the relocation of the animals.
In 2021, the state of Gujarat plans to start dispersing the lions in various areas, including the Badra Wildlife Sanctuary. An announcement regarding the project’s next move is expected to be made on August 10. This will focus on the animals’ natural distribution across Saurashtra and possibly to Rajasthan.