NEW DELHI, Aug 10: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of the World Lion Day on Tuesday said the big cat population in the country has seen a steady increase in the last few years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said India’s
“The lion is majestic and courageous. India is proud to be home to the Asiatic Lion. On World Lion Day, I convey my greetings to all those passionate about lion conservation. It would make you happy that the last few years have seen a steady increase in India’s lion population,” Modi said in a series of tweets.
“When I was serving as Gujarat CM, I had the opportunity to work towards ensuring safe and secure habitats for the Gir Lions. A number of initiatives were taken which involved local communities and global best practices to ensure habitats are safe and tourism also gets a boost,” a government release said quoting Modi.
Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav also tweeted, “A great conservation success story that must be told on #WorldLionDay. As many as 674 #AsiaticLions spread across 30,000 sq km reside and thrive in Gujarat. The big cat is re-colonising its lost territories. Let’s continue to build on this.”
The number of lions went up from 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2020. The same period witnessed a 36 per cent increase in the distribution area of the lions from 22,000 sq km in 2015 to 30,000 sq km in 2020.
Asiatic lions are found in the protected areas such as Gir National Park and Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, and agro-pastoral landscape of Saurashtra, covering nine districts in Gujarat.
Earlier in 2020, as many as 92 had died in the Asiatic Lion Landscape, many of them due to canine distemper virus. Gir area also suffered massive damage, especially the loss of thousands of trees, due to Cyclone Tauktae this year.
The idea of relocating Asiatic Lions from Gir to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary has been around since 1990. But it is still pending.