A new petition filed in the Supreme Court has opposed the translocation of Asiatic Lions to the Kuno-Palpur Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh on the grounds that the sanctuary is a migration corridor for the tigers of the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan to Madhav National park in MP.
It should be noted that the petition — which has been admitted but is yet to come up for hearing — says that this aspect of the Kuno-Palpur Sanctuary, being used as a migration corridor by the tigers, could end up endangering the feasibility of the translocation of some Gir lions.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had on February 2014 admitted a writ petition demanding a review of its April 2013 judgment that ordered the translocation of Asiatic Lions. The writ petition filed by Wildlife Conservation Trust, a Rajkot-based NGO, had claimed that certain facts were not brought to the notice of the Supreme Court.
The recent petition is filed by Priyavrat Gadhvi — a bio-technologist based in Ahmedabad and a member of the State Wildlife Board. Talking about the petition, Gadhvi said that the Supreme Court had not been made aware of the importance of Kuno-Palpur Sanctuary as an important natural corridor for tiger dispersal and the actual volume of tiger movement.
“Earlier when a tiger was found close to the Kuno-Palpur Sanctuary it was dismissed as a stray incident. But now, there are scientific studies including a report by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, to prove that Kuno-Palpur is an important tiger migration corridor,” said Gadhvi.
He said that the 2012 report by CCMB clearly states that there is a healthy gene-flow between Tigers of Ranthambore National park and Madhav National park in Madhya Pradesh. “The team used DNA analysis from scat-samples (excreta) obtained from Ranthambore National park, Kuno-Palpur sanctuary and Madhav National Park to establish the fact that there was movement of tigers via Kuno-Palpur,” said Gadhvi.
The other argument in the petition is the historic evidence that the two big cats cannot co-exist. “In my research I found the opinion of many renowned naturalists who had in the past written about tigers being the reason for restriction of lion territory in India which never went south of the Narmada river.” said Gadhvi, who is being represented by Nachiket Dave.
This concept of reintroduction will endanger both lions and tigers, he added.