Dubbed the “pride of Gujarat”, Asiatic lions -- so far found only at the Gir reserve of the state -- will get a second home at the Palpur Kuno sanctuary, 300 km north-west of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court order allowing the transfer of lions from Gujarat.
The matter had been lingering for the past 20 years.
However, the cheetah reintroduction, also proposed at Palpur Kuno, will not take place because the Supreme Court has ruled it out.
The chief minister said adequate arrangements had been made at the sanctuary to accommodate the lions. Wildlife was safe in the state and he hoped the lions would flourish.
The Supreme Court allowed the transfer because the lions faced extinction in Gir, which now has 300 lions. A second home for them was necessary, the court said.
Additional principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Dharmendra Shukla told HT he would comment on the court order only when he saw it. “The habitat at Palpur Kuno is ready to accommodate the lions and we will wait for the modalities of the transfer to be worked out. Many aspects of the transfer are still to be worked out by the government of India,” said Shukla.
Sudhir Kumar, chief conservator, Lion Project, Gwalior, said: “While the necessary arrangements for the lions are in place, some minor preparations that need to be made will be done once the details of the transfer are worked out.”