Ramesh asks Modi govt to part with some Gir Lions

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Ahmedabad, Jan 27 (PTI) Union Environment Minister JairamRamesh today pressed Gujarat to part with some of its lions,saying they should be translocated and have a second home inMadhya Pradesh.

The Minister, who visited Sasan Gir Sanctuary inJunagadh district, the only abode of Asiatic lions, said he ishopeful that the Narendra Modi government will agree to theproposal of having a second home for Gujarat lions in MP.

The Gujarat government has already rejected the proposalmade several times before on the ground the Gir lions were the"pride" of the state.

The issue of sharing Gir lions with MP is a bone ofcontention between the Governments of Gujarat, MP and theCentre.

"You know more than 1,000 lions died due to diseases inTanzania. Here in Gir, the lions have an inbreed populationand genetic diversity of the lions here is also limited,"Ramesh told reporters after a visit to the sanctuary.

"Many scientists are of the view that the lions shouldhave a second home. I have written to the Gujarat Governmentto transfer some lions to MP."

"But the Government here thinks lions are their pridepossession," Ramesh said, adding he hopes that someday theproposal to translocate the lions will be accepted by theState Government.

The Gujarat Government has time and again made itclear it will not share the big cats with MP. As per the lastCensus, the sanctuary is home to around 400 lions.

Ramesh has even offered Modi tigers in exchange forlions. But Modi''s response was, "We want Gujarat to havetigers, but we will not give our lions."

Ramesh also went on a safari and was lucky to sighteight lions. He inspected various facilities in the sanctuaryfor the wildlife.

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