MP for tracking Kuno tiger to avoid fight with Gujarat lions
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Last Updated: Sunday, February 16, 2014, 11:39
  
New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh has recommended to the Centre that the lone tiger in its Palpur Kuno sanctuary be fitted with a radio collar to check any possible conflict with lions proposed to be introduced in the reserve from Gujarat.

Palpur Kuno sanctuary, under Sehopur district of Gwalior division, has been chosen as the second home for Asiatic lions found exclusively in Gujarat's Gir sanctuary.

The matter of conflict between tiger and lions was mentioned in an action plan made by a technical committee involving officials of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat governments, and Wild Life Institute of India (WII), following a Supreme Court directive to the Centre to ensure successful reintroduction of lions.

"Currently, Kuno wildlife sanctuary is occupied by a single resident tiger (T-38) from adjacent Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan. Both lions and tigers being top predators will sometime get involved in inter-specific strife resulting in injuries and even deaths," the action plan said.

"The best strategy would be to radio collar (GPS/ satellite) the tiger (and any other additional immigrant/ resident tiger in future) as well, so as to study the interaction between these two top carnivores as part of the research program of Kuno reintroduction," it said.

The action plan was sent to Madhya Pradesh forests department officials for necessary action.

"The action plan has recommended radio collaring of the lonely resident tiger and other co-predators to study the interaction between lion and tiger as well as resource use. We agree to the recommendation," Madhya Pradesh Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Narendra Kumar said in a letter dated January 30 to the MoEF.

There are about 400 Asiatic lions in Gir sanctuary.

The reintroduction plan of lions in Madhya Pradesh had faced stiff opposition from Gujarat. "There has already been a delay of more than four months in implementing reintroduction of lions in Madhya Pradesh. We will file contempt petition in Supreme Court very soon," said wildlife activist Ajay Dubey.

It is pertinent to mention that a first attempt in 1957 to translocate lions from Gujarat to Chandraprabha Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh had failed due to lack of understanding on adequacy of prey base, crucial habitat requirements and the insufficiency of protection, habitat management and monitoring.

Thereafter in 1990s, the WII took up the matter of finding an alternative home for the species and identified Kuno as the most suitable site.

A Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife in its meeting on February 18, 2008 also recommended a lion reintroduction program in Kuno. However, the program faced a deadlock with Gujarat government's unwillingness to provide its lions for reintroduction.

The Gujarat government had filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court in April, 2009 objecting to lion reintroduction.

On April 15 last year, the apex court directed the MoEF to expedite lion reintroduction in Kuno in compliance with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines for species translocation.

Following this, the technical committee was formed which gave its recommendation in form of the action plan to Madhya Pradesh government on October 21, 2013.

PTI

First Published: Sunday, February 16, 2014, 11:24


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