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Friday, March 16, 2012

Illegal Lion Safari: What Next?

As per recent report by TOI illegal lion shows are being organized by local hotels in Gir National Park in the State of Gujarat. The illegal safaris are being organized in the outer areas of the park. A bait is tied near the road and whence the lions come to kill and feed on it a tamasha is held.

The hoteliers charge up to 10,000 rupees for a lion show. In the photographs, I could see hordes on motor cycle rickshaw and tractor trolley watching the big cat. This practice of baiting goes against the conservation  ethics. Baiting  inhibits the natural hunting instincts of the big cats and also prevents local migration in search of food and water.

In the early stages of tourism this practice was followed by the forest department in Central Indian Reserves. But this was stopped in time whence the negative aspects became clear.   

If illegal baiting continues this will prove to be very harmful. As per the report the collusion of local forest staff is not ruled out. This has to be stopped in time. At Gir the bait killed by the lions is then subject to claims from the forest department.

This practice has to be brought to a halt else it will lead to other illegal activities by emboldened criminals. Gir National Park is the only abode of Asiatic Lion in India. Efforts to find another home at Kuno Palpur WLS  have been stalled so far.As a good conservation measure lion trans-location to Kuno Palpur would be a far reaching step in order to assure species survival.