Saturday, August 3, 2013

"NO" for Kuno ~ Speak before it's too late

The whole planet knows the one and only resort for last 400 Asiatic Lions is Gir National Forest of India. Undoubtedly, Gir went far behind the limits to protect the last Asiatic Lions and bring up the number from 12 to 400 in past several decades. The contribution Gujrat govt made on grounds of conservation, in past several decades, cannot be ruled out. However, since Gir has contributed so much, and the Lion population is brought to it's limit which can be hold by the forest, Lions are now finding their way out of the forest boundaries. Today, Lions are not only limited to Gir Forest, but  has spread over a very large area all over the Saurashtra region, which is why it's very urgent to find a second home for teh Gir Lions. The idea for finding a second home was aroused decades back, and for which central and state govt has worked very sensitively.

For this translocation project, out of 3 places, Kuno was found to be teh best habitat for Lions, and thus was finalized. Since the area for translocation was finalized, there had been several attempts by Gujrat State govt as well as individual/ NGOs to stop the translocation, on various grounds. No one went against the idea for translocation, but protested against other grounds, which were never heard neither by MP State govt, not the Judicial benches, and it was a black day for wildlife lovers when Hon. Supreme Court of India announced teh verdict by nodding YES to the project.

Why "NO" for Kuno?

Post research, we found Kuno not to be suitable for Lions in any single sense, although, the wildlife research team which was appointed for this task (officially) submitted its report finding Kuno the best place after Gir Forest in India. Below are the major points which were neglected/ manipulated in the report submitted to drive the Judicial verdict on their side. (Click the hyperlinks to know the )

1.  Kuno is a typical Indian rainforest which is not an adequate habitat for Lions. Lions lives in a different kind of habitat.

2. Kuno is almost an extension of a Tiger Reserve "Ranthambhore" and houses couple of Tigers which strayed away from the Tiger reserve. Lions and Tigers can't live together.

3.  Kuno Palpur is a poacher ruled area, where multiple incidents of poaching has been found in past. Many wild animals have been already brought down by poachers. In fact Kuno region is rich in channelizing illegal arms and ammunition.

4. Since Kuno is too far from Gir, the translocation has to be human assisted. There have been several human assisted translocation not only in India, but all over the world, which all failed. So, success of this human assisted translocation is very much doubtful. Even IUCN recommends, that we should focus on natural translocation whose success rate is 100%.

5.  As part of translocation plan, to keep up the healthy genetic pool in Kuno, every 3-5 years, fresh Lions from Gir would be brought to Kuno, and the residing male would be jailed to Zoo. This translocation simply aims at putting all wild Lions to Zoo which is highly unethical and insane act.

6. Prey base at Kuno is not at par for Lions. A manipulated report and argument submitted to Hon. Supreme court of India to show a good number of prey and driving the verdict to their court. As per the report, Langurs are also counted as Lions' prey with a high rate of population. While the main prey "Sambhar" and "Nilgai" rate are too less.

7. Gir people have learnt very well to share the same land in a peaceful manner and no incidents of Lion killing came into light  till date. While on other hand tribals inside Kuno were forcefully kicked out to make space for the reserve. This would definitely lead to man-animal conflict and Lions would be targeted badly. Poisioning and killing of Tigers are of no surprise there in Kuno region.

8. For this project, 24 villages who found there home in Kuno, were kicked out and forced to find their new home out of Kuno where they are suffering to death. Though a heavy amount was sanctioned for the tribal relocation, only few drops has reached for the actual cause.

This is the time to say "NO" to Kuno. This is time to prove the democracy. This is the time to prove that we care for our heritage, we care for wild animals..

~ Black Pearl

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