AHMEDABAD: Not only the translocation of lions to Chandraprabha wildlife sanctuary has failed but ten other translocations across the world have also failed, the latest one being the Indian Rhino‘s translocation in 2013. Atleast three incidents of translocation of lions have been taken up across the world including two in India and all three have failed.
Empower Foundation, a NGO working on Sanjay Gandhi National Park‘s man-animal conflict, has submitted a detailed report to the Gujarat forest department highlighting why translocations should not be taken up. Jalpesh Mehta and his team have in the report “SAVE THE LION, Say no to Translocation,” stated that “Empower foundation has analyzed 10 Case Studies of Translocation failures covering Elephants, Gaurs, Leopards, Rhinos, African and Asiatic Lions (From Gir to Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary in UP in 1956). These show a success rate of only 16 per cent, while the rest either return to their own region (causing major conflicts), die or are killed by locals due to severe conflicts. India has had no majorly successful translocation.”
Mehta said that in 2013, 18 rhinos were shifted to Manas from Kaziranga and Pobitora. The translocation was a part of Indian Rhino Vision 2020 Programme. Poachers continued their killing and four rhinos were killed in Manas after they were translocated. Another translocation happened in 2011, where elephants were translocated from Bokakhat to Masan and the locals had killed some of the creatures.
For India’s lions, three translocations have been held and all have failed. In 1904, cubs of African lions were included in Kuno and all of them were shot dead; in 1956, Gir lions were shifted to Chandraprabha and all three died due to inadequate area, lack of systematic monitoring and unrestricted movement of grazing animals.
Between 1997 and 2001, 22 lions were translocated to multiple areas and all of them returned to their original territory from where they were captured and this was due to human-wildlife conflict.
After studying various research papers and issues, “We concluded that all translocated animals will be chronically-stressed to some degree upon release. Chronic stress makes translocated animals more vulnerable to other environmental factors, and thereby amplifies the potential problems encountered when released such as succumbing to disease or predation even though they could have had a better potential to survive, reproduce and establish a self sustaining population in the wild. But a lot of factors in context to Kuno-Palpur Sanctuary are against the overall interest of the lions who will ultimately become victims of chronic stress, disease, reproductive issues and predation,” said Mehta.