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Current Affairs 2023

Government Tells Supreme Court It Needs Time to Consider Introducing Gir Lions to Kuno National Park

The government has informed the Supreme Court that it needs six months to re-examine whether members of the Asiatic lion population in Gir need to be translocated to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, where cheetahs have recently been imported from Namibia and South Africa.

Mar 29, 2023

4 min read

The Indian government has informed the Supreme Court that it needs six months to re-examine whether members of the Asiatic lion population “thriving” in Gir, Gujarat, need to be translocated to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. The government’s decision comes in response to the import of cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa to Kuno in the past few months.


The Centre has recommended a “stress-free environment” for the cheetahs, and believes that introducing lions from Gir into Kuno may create tension between both the species. The government has also expressed concern that introducing one more large carnivore species into the area may be detrimental to the survival of both species, due to inter-species competition.


In addition, the government has stated that the Asiatic lion population in Gujarat has grown by almost 29% in the past five years, with several meta-populations of lions established across the landscape. To secure the future of the species, the Union government has launched the Asiatic Lion Project for long-term conservation. The government has also informed the Supreme Court that it is no longer necessary to take the guidance and advice of an expert committee appointed by the apex court in January 2020.


The government has asked for six months to re-examine the situation, and to determine the best course of action for both the cheetahs and the lions. In the meantime, conservationists and wildlife experts are hoping that the government will take into consideration the importance of both species, and will make a decision that is in the best interest of all involved. The government’s decision will have far-reaching implications for the future of both the Asiatic lion and the cheetah population, and will be closely monitored by conservationists and wildlife experts across the country.


Gir National Park


Gir National Park, also known as Sasan Gir, is located in the Junagadh district of Gujarat, India. It is the only natural habitat of the Asiatic lion in the world and is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia. The park covers an area of about 1,412 square kilometers and was established in 1965.


The park is characterized by a rugged terrain of hills, plateaus, and valleys, with mixed deciduous forests and savannah grasslands. It is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including 38 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 37 species of reptiles, and over 2,000 species of insects. Apart from the Asiatic lion, the park is also known for its population of leopards, striped hyenas, wild boars, and Indian cobras.


The Asiatic lion is the main attraction of the park and is a major conservation success story. In the early 20th century, the population of Asiatic lions had dwindled to just a few dozen individuals due to hunting and habitat loss. However, a successful conservation program launched in the 1970s has helped to increase their population to around 600 individuals today.


Kuno National Park


Kuno National Park is a protected area located in the Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh, India. The park covers an area of around 345 square kilometers and is a habitat for a variety of wildlife, including tigers, leopards, Indian wolves, striped hyenas, and sloth bears.


Kuno National Park is known for its successful efforts to reintroduce Asiatic cheetahs, which have been extinct in India for several decades. In recent years, the park has been preparing to receive Asiatic lions from the Gir National Park in Gujarat, in order to provide a second home for the lions and prevent a single-point failure that could threaten the species' survival. However, the Indian government has delayed the translocation of the lions due to concerns about potential conflicts with the cheetahs, which were reintroduced to the park in 2020.


Apart from its wildlife, Kuno National Park is also home to a number of historical and cultural sites, including the Kuno Fort and the ancient temple of Kuno Mahadev. The park is also known for its scenic beauty, with a varied landscape that includes rolling hills, steep cliffs, and lush forests.


UPSC Main Exam Question


1. Examine the reasons behind the government of India's decision to postpone the translocation of Asiatic lions from Gir to Kuno National Park, and evaluate the potential impact of this decision on the long-term conservation of both lions and cheetahs in India."

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