Skip to main content

Asiatic lion no more endangered species? Govt of India Rajya Sabha reply raises unanswered questions

By Our Representative
Is the Asiatic lion, living in and around the Gir sanctuary in Junagadh district of Gujarat, no more an endangered species, at least in Government of India perception? It would seem so, if the latest list of endangered species released by Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javdekar in the Rajya Sabha are is indication.
Interesting though it may seem, the Gujarat government “officially” even now thinks that the Asiatic lion is an endangered category, even though it happily states in the state forest department website that has been removed from the list of “critically endangered” species.
To quote from website says, “Based on the recent lion population estimation held in May 2015, the current population of Asiatic Lion stands at 523, an increase of 27% over last five years.” The result is that, “The status of Asiatic lion has been upgraded from critically endangered to endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2010.”
In an answer to a question by Rajya Sabha MP from Chhattisgarh Parimal Nathwani, an ethnic Gujarati, the minister said, there are 20 animal species and 16 plant species in the endangered category in Gujarat (click HERE for the MP's media release on the subject).
Source: Gujarat forest department website
Gujarat’s 20 “endangered species”, the minister said in his written reply, are black mahaseer, golden mahaseer, leatherback sea turtle, green sea turtle, Indian white-backed vulture, long-billed vulture, red-headed vulture, steppe eagle, greater adjutant-stork, great Indian bustard, lesser florican, sociable lapwing, spotted greenshank, forest spotted owlet, dhole, caracal, blue whale, fin whale and Indian wild ass.
Nathwani, who is also one of the topmost executives of the Reliance Industries Ltd, wanted to know about “increase in the number of endangered species during the last two years, the names of such species with the areas/regions of their habitation, whether wildlife habitats are being destroyed due to mining activities in the country and the special efforts being made by government to stop/prevent damage/ destruction of wildlife habitats.”
The Gujarat government officials appear perplexed about whether the Asiatic lion should be placed under the endangered category. While one official said, “I have not come across any such thing”, another said, the Asiatic wildcat “cannot be called endangered anymore.”
The logic provided by the official is, “Since the Asiatic lion does not just live in the Gir national park and sanctuary, so far it’s only abode, and has been moving out because of its increased population, there is reason to believe that it is not endangered.”
The official said, “The carrying capacity of the Gir forests (national park and sanctuary) is a little more than 200 Asiatic lions. Now, the wild cat can be found in large parts of Saurashtra, leave alone Gir forests, thanks to a progressive rise in its population.”
While the official said he believes IUCN “may have” taken into account this factor while “removing” the Asiatic lion from the endangered list, officially, there is “no evidence” on this.
“In spite of the lions living in only one area, the IUCN listed them as endangered – a species still threatened but showing promises of recovery”, an expert site leading with the subject said (click HERE for IUCN’s redlist).
Quoting IUCN officials, the site added, “Asiatic lion exists as a single isolated population in India’s Gujarat state. The number of mature lions has been increasing, all occurring within one subpopulation (but in four separate areas, three of which are outside of the Gir forest protected area). Since the population now extends beyond the boundary of the lion sanctuary, and the numbers are stable, the subspecies is listed as endangered based simply on the population size.”

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.