Asiatic Lion Conservation Project

Why in news?

  •  The free-population of Asiatic Lions and the ecosystem of their habitation will be protected and conserved under ‘Asiatic Lion Conservation Project,’ an initiative taken by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on December 20, 2018.
  •  Under the project, the stability, and viability in the population of Asiatic Lions will be ensured through scientific intervention, disease control, veterinary control, and adequate eco-development works.
  •    A total of Rs. 9784 Lakh for three years has been allocated for this project which will provide monetary support to the centrally-sponsored scheme-Development of Wildlife Habitat (CSS-DWH). The state and Union government will share the total cost of the project at 60:40.

Objectives of the project:

  •   The project activities is envisaged in a manner to cause habitat improvement, scientific interventions, disease control and veterinary care supplemented with adequate eco development works for the fringe population in order to ensure a stable and viable Lion population in the Country.
  •  The project will strengthen the ongoing measures for conservation and recovery of Asiatic Lion with the help of state-of-the –art techniques/ instruments, regular scientific research studies, disease management, Modern surveillance/ patrolling techniques.

Asiatic Lion Conservation Project:

  •   The MoEFCC has launched the “Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” with an aim to protect and conserve the world’s last ranging free population of Asiatic Lion and its associated ecosystem.
  •    The project will be funded from the Centrally Sponsored Scheme- Development of Wildlife Habitat (CSS-DWH) with the contributing ratio being 60:40 of Central and State share.
  •    The conservation of Asiatic Lions has always been a priority of Government of India.
  • The Ministry in the past has supported Asiatic Lion in Gujarat by including it in list of 21 critically endangered species under the species recovery component of CSS-DWH.

Asiatic Lions and Their Population:

  •  Asiatic lions that once ranged from Persia (Iran) to Palamau in Eastern India were almost driven to extinction by indiscriminate hunting and habitat loss.
  •  A single population of fewer than 50 lions persisted in the Gir forests of Gujarat by late 1890s.
  •  With appropriate and stringent protection offered by the State Government and the central Government, Asiatic lions have increased to the current population of over 500 numbers.
  • The last census in the year 2015 showed the population of 523 Asiatic Lions in Gir Protected Area Network of 1648.79 square Kilometers that includes Gir National Park, Gir Sanctuary, Pania Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctuary adjoining reserved forests, Protected Forests, and Unclassed Forests.
  • The Asiatic Lions have already been included in the list of 21 critically endangered species for recovery programme and financial assistance under the species recovery component of CSS-DWH by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
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