About Asiatic Lion, Asiatic Lion Conservation Project

Headline : Vet institute, ambulances mooted in lion conservation plan

Details :

The News

  • In a bid to step up conservation and protection efforts of critically endangered ‘Asiatic Lions, the Centre and the Gujarat government have announced a 3-year dedicated ‘Asiatic Lion Conservation Project’.

Background

About Asiatic Lions

  • Asiatic Lions are critically endangered species, listed in the Schedule 1 of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, Appendix I of CITES and endangered on IUCN Red List.
  • Asiatic lions were once distributed in dry deciduous forests and scrublands from West Bengal in east to Rewa, MP in the west.
  • Currently, the last surviving population of the Asiatic lions is confined to Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, which is the only habitat of the Asiatic lion.
  • According to 2015 census, there are currently 523 Asiatic lion in India compared to about 50 in 1980s.

Need for the conservation project

  • In the recent years, there is a rise in number of deaths of Asian Lions due to various unnatural causes.
  • According to estimates, the numbers of deaths of Asiatic Lions are 104 and 80 in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
  • The main reason for death of Asiatic lions:
    • Construction of open wells in their habitat
    • Electrocution
    • A viral disease known as Canine Distemper Disease. (a majority of deaths in 2018 are reported to be due to CDD)
  • Further, Asiatic Lions are long-neglected with low allocation in conservation plans; Rs. 95000/ lion as compared to 15 Lakh/ individual in case of tigers.

About Asiatic Lion Conservation Project

  • Asiatic Lion Conservation Project will be a 3-year centrally sponsored scheme funded from CSS-Development of Wildlife Habitat (CSS-DWH) with centre-state contribution ratio of 60:40.
  • It focuses both on protection and conservation of the lion species.
  • It is mainly based on ‘species conservation over a large landscape” approach. Accordingly, Zone Plans and Theme Plans are developed.
  • Zone Plans include expansion of habitat and developing a Greater Gir region including Girnar, Pania and Mitiyala.
    • The Greater Gir region is then divided into Core Zone, the Sanctuary Zone, the buffer Zone for different levels of conservation.
  • Theme Plans include habitat improvement, protection, wildlife health service, addressing to man-wild animal conflict issues, research and monitoring, awareness generation, and ecotourism.

Main features of the project

  • Habitat improvement,
  • Bringing together multi-sectoral agencies for disease control.
  • Stepping up veterinary care by construction of veterinary hospitals
  • back-up stocks of vaccines that may be required
  • Increasing the number of lion ambulances.
  • ICT-driven monitoring and surveillance systems including
    • GPS Based Tracking
    • Automated Sensor Grid with magnetic sensors, movement sensors, infra-red heat sensors
    • Night vision capability enhancement
    • GIS based real time monitoring and reporting
  • A wildlife crime cell to step up protection
  • Creating a task force for the Greater Gir region
  • Establishment of additional water points

Section : Environment & Ecology

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