Action Plan For Vulture Conservation; Project Lion; Lion Relocation

Action Plan For Vulture Conservation

  • Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will get a vulture conservation and breeding centre each, according to the Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025.
  • The plan has also suggested that new veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) be tested on vultures before their commercial release.
  • The action plan was approved by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) October 5, 2020.

The new plan has laid out strategies and actions to stem the decline in vulture population, especially of the three Gyps species:

  1. Oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis)
  2. Slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris)
  3. Long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus)
  • It has also proposed to establish four rescue centres, in Pinjore (Haryana), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Guwahati (Assam) and Hyderabad (Telangana).
  • There are currently no dedicated rescue centres for treating vultures.

Project Lion

  • Six new sites apart from the Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary have been identified under Project Lion.
  • Project Lion was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2020.
  • Project Lion has been launched on the lines of Project Tiger and Project Elephant
  • The programme has been launched for the conservation of the Asiatic Lion, whose last remaining wild population is in Gujarat’s Asiatic Lion Landscape (ALL).

The six new sites identified for possible lion relocation in the future include:

  1. Madhav National Park, Madhya Pradesh
  2. Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan
  3. Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan
  4. Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh
  5. Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan
  6. Jessore-Balaram Ambaji WLS and adjoining landscape, Gujarat

Lion Relocation

  • Lion relocation has been talked about since 1995, when the Kuno Wildife Sanctuary was identified as an alternate site.
  • The motive behind finding a relocation site for the species is because the population in Gir has low genetic diversity, making it vulnerable to threats of extension from epidemics.
  • For the first time, the entire genome of the Asiatic lion has been sequenced by scientists from CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad. The full genome sequencing of Gir lions has shown them to be lacking genetic diversity in comparison to other lion populations and historical samples of Asiatic lions.
  • The proposal sought to create free-ranging lion populations within Gujarat and in other states to counter this problem.
  • The Centre and Madhya Pradesh government had already spent approximately $3.4 million from 1995 till 2007 for relocating 24 human settlements from Kuno-Palpur and for other habitat management interventions.

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