The move came following a Supreme Court judgement on April 15 which held that the species was under threat of extinction and needed a second home.
“The Supreme Court has passed final orders on the shifting of Asiatic lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh directing the Ministry of Environment and Forests to take urgent steps for their reintroduction,” former Madhya Pradesh Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) P K Shukla has said in a letter to Enviroment Ministry (MoEF).
“The Hon’ble Court has set a time limit of six months from the date of issuance of court’s order for reintroduction of lions.
“As the time limit is brief for such a huge task, we were eagerly expecting directions from MoEF regarding the course of action, but we have not received any directions from the central government so far,” he said.
The copy of the letter, which was written on May 16, was accessed by wildlife activist Ajay Dubey via RTI.
The letter also mentioned details of annual plan expenditure of operations to carry out impending works for reintroduction of lion and had sought central assistance.
Shukla had sought grant of Rs 737.42 lakh for various works, including transportation of animals, strengthening of protection infrastructure and habitat development among others at the sanctuary, located about 300 kms from Bhopal.
Dubey said, “Four months have already passed and not much is being done on the shifting of lions. We will write to MoEF in this regard as well as to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to shift lions as early as possible.”
The wildlife activist had earlier filed a PIL demanding ban on tourism inside tiger reserves across the country and restructuring of government policies in this regard, which was granted by the apex court.
Currently, there are around 400 Asiatic lions in Gujarat’s Gir sanctuary.