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Kuno Lion Project has been started in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Check out Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary Project of India.

Kuno Project

Asiatic Lions are facing an imminent danger of extinction, if immediate steps are not taken to stop their habitat destruction and poaching. Even today, the population of Asiatic lions in the world is limited to the Gir forests of India. As a solution of the problem of their deteriorating natural habitat, the Wildlife Institute of India conducted a research to find the place that could serve as a new home for them. After much exploration, it zeroed on the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary as the place where the lions of Gir could be relocated.

This project was given the name of Kuno Project and was based in Madhya Pradesh. As per the conservation biologists, the introduction of lions in the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary would lead to a distribution of their population, which is presently concentrated only in Gir. This would make the species less susceptible to poaching and at the same time, reduce the overcrowding of Gir. The Kuno Lion Project of India is intended to provide Asiatic lions with the same habitat, which they used to rule once.

Situated in the northwest of Madhya Pradesh, Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary has been selected for the project because it resembles the natural habitat of the lions to quite an extent. In the year 1981, an area of approximately 344.686 sq km in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh was set aside to be developed into a sanctuary. Today, this area comprises of the Kuno Wildlife Division and has an additional 900 sq km as a buffer area.

The entire area of the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary can be divided into a number of habitats, namely riparian habitat, savanna woodland, ravenous habitat, plateau and evacuated agricultural fields. The sanctuary is serving as home to tiger, leopard, wolf, wild dog, chital, samber, chinkara, nilgai, blackbuck, four-horned antelopes, wild pig, etc. One can also see a wide range of bird species here. As a precursor to the relocation of the Asiatic lions, the sanctuary was made free of human beings. Around 24 villages were rehabilitated from the sanctuary for the purpose.

To prevent any water scarcity in the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, waterholes, in the form of ponds and saucers, have been created. The other efforts taken for developing the sanctuary include the education of the people belonging to the neighborhood communities, in order to make them aware of the effects of living with a mega carnivore like lion. Even after so many preparations, a number of steps are still left to be undertaken before the lions of Gir can be effectively relocated here.