The Ministry of Environment on Friday launched a three-year Asiatic Lion Conservation Project in collaboration with the state of Gujarat, as part of its bid to protect and conserve the world’s last ranging free population of Asiatic Lions.
The project, at an estimated cost of Rs 98 crore, for which the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has allocated Rs 59 crore to Gujarat’s Gir sanctuary, will span over three financial years — 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.
It will focus on the scientific management of the lion habitat with the involvement of communities, disease control and veterinary care for the overall conservation of Asiatic Lions.
Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan while launching the project handed over an amount of Rs 17 crore to Ramanlal Nanubhai Patkar, Gujarat Minister of State for Forest and Tribal Development, for the implementation of activities in the state’s Gir sanctuary during the first year of the project.
Expressing happiness about the collaboration, Patkar said presently there were about 700 lions in Gir National Park and that they are increasing.
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The Asiatic Lion in Gir is one of the 21 critically endangered species identified by the Ministry for taking up recovery programmes. It is being listed in Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, to be accorded the highest degree of protection.