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The conservation efforts for Asiatic lion started from 1910. Read more about Indian lions conservation efforts.

Asiatic Lion Conservation Efforts

Asiatic Lion is facing a major threat to its survival not in India only, but the whole world. Initially the population of the Asiatic Lion was distributed from Caucasus to Yemen and from Macedon to present-day India, through Iran (Persia). However, today, the natural habitat of the majestic animal has become restricted to the Gir National Park of India only. The threat to the Asiatic Lion was recognized in India a long time back and conservations efforts for the same were started as far back as the year 1910.

The first authority to initiate conservation efforts in relation to Indian Lion was the Nawab of Junagadh. He banned the hunting of the lions within his province. Even after the country gained independence in the year 1947, the ban continued to be in force. In the decades of 1960s and 1970s, the Gir was declared as a sanctuary and national park respectively. Some time back, the Kuno Project was undertaken in the Indian subcontinent as a part of the conservation efforts for the Asiatic Lion.

Under the Kuno Project, a wildlife sanctuary, known as the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, is being developed to create a near natural habitat for the lions. The aim behind the establishment of the sanctuary is to relocate the excess population of the lions in Gir. However, the sanctuary is still not fully complete and many steps are required to be undertaken to create that perfect habitat for the royal animal. Experts are conducting research on a regular basis to find a solution to the problem of declining population of the Asiatic Lions in India.

One of the main threats to the Asiatic Lion comes from the increasing hostility on the part of the resident human population of Gir. Human beings have become one of the major reasons contributing to a dip in the population of the Indian Lions. It is required that the population of Maldharis and other villagers living inside the protected area of the Gir National Park be sensitized about the importance of conserving lions. They should be involved in the conservation activities being carried on within the protected area.

Including the local residents within the field staff of the Gir Forest Department can also prove to be quite beneficial. One of the basic reasons for the conflict between humans and lions is that the lions attack the livestock of the villagers. Though there is a system of compensating villagers for the loss of the livestock, there is a need to make it simpler as well as more equitable. Another option is to relocate the human population living inside the park to new locations. Consolidation as well as expansion of the park boundaries can also be considered.

The afforestation programs in grasslands and savannah areas of the Gir forest should be avoided as far as possible. At the same time, the habitat of the lions should be improved. One of the ways of ensuring this is by thinning of the teak stands, which will lead to the opening up of the forest canopy. The government can also include adjoining Chachai-Pania sanctuary within the protected area of Gir National Park. Steps should also be taken to reduce the traffic inside the Gir National Park. Once these steps are followed, the situation is expected to improve drastically.