Rajkot (Gujarat), Mar 1 (ANI): Amid growing concern about the depleting tiger population in India, the people of Rajkot have expressed their unhapiness with the Centre's proposal to shift Asiatic lions to the Kuno Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh.
The president of the Gir Nature Club, Mahendra Singh Shekhwat, said: "Asiatic Lions from here are very popular. They are staying here for last 100 - 150 years. It is a natural habitat for lions because the climate suits them. If they are taken to other places, it would be difficult for them to acclimatize."
The Gujarat Government has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court opposing the decision of the Central Government. The government has rejected the Madhya Pradesh Government's plea to swap lions for tigers.
There are over 360 lions in a stretch of approximately 1600-kilometers.
Gir Nature Club Manager Nitin said, "Asiatic lions are safe in 1412 km territory of Gir forest. From last 10 days, we have issued forms for the tourists' feedback whether lions should be shifted or not. The results indicate that lions should stay here."
Over 100,000 domestic and international tourists visit the Gir and the Devalia National Parks.
Forest department officials said that Gujarat Government fears that a majority of tourists coming to Gujarat for lion tourism could be diverted to Madhya Pradesh if the shift took place. (ANI)