Gujarat govt allocates Rs 277cr for lion conservation in Gir region


Gandhinagar, Feb 15: Gujarat government on Tuesday allocated Rs 277 crore for conservation of Asiatic lions within the Gir and Greater Gir regions of the state.

“We have allocated Rs 277 crore for conservation of Asiatic lions within the Gir and Greater Gir regions,” Minister of State for Forest and Environment, Climate Change, Water Resources and Water Mukesh Patel while responding during the Question Hour.

He said that the state government’s efforts include establishing a National Wildlife Disease Diagnostic and Referral Centre in Junagadh, approved under ‘Project Lion’ initiated by the Central government in 2020.

The minister said that the government has implemented measures to enhance the lions’ protection and medical care.

“These include the appointment of veterinarians, the deployment of four ambulances in forested areas, and the establishment of treatment centers throughout the region,” the minister said.

He said that rapid action teams have also been formed to rescue animals in distress.

“To mitigate the risk of unnatural deaths, the government is implementing safety measures such as constructing speed-breakers on roads within sanctuary areas, increasing night patrols in forests, building parapet walls around open wells near forests, installing fences along railway tracks adjacent to the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, and using radio collars to monitor lions’ movements,” the minister said.

As per June 2020 census, Gujarat’s Asiatic lion population stands at 674, highlighting the critical need for ongoing conservation efforts.

“There have been 238 lion deaths in total. Around 209 died of natural causes while 29 died due to accidents, such as vehicle collisions or by falling into the open wells,” the 2020 census report says.