Last Updated: January 20, 2023, 00:39 IST
The Asiatic Lion, the pride of Gujarat and India, has found a new and second home in Barda Wildlife Sanctuary, near Porbandar. The lion’s last presence in Barda was recorded way back in 1879, informed Rajya Sabha member Parimal Nathwani who is a Gir lion enthusiast and also a member of the Advisory Committee of Gir Sanctuary and National Park.
Nathwani said that a male lion of around three and a half years of age entered Barda Sanctuary on January 18. The lion was sighted in Mota Jungle Beat of Ranavav Round in Ranavav Range of Porbandar Wildlife division. The male lion was first spotted on October 3, 2022, in Madhavpur Round of Porbandar Wild Life Division. After spending nearly three months in various habitats of coastal forest and wastelands, this male has crossed over to Barda Wildlife Sanctuary. In order to monitor the movement of the Lion, it was radio-collared by Gujarat Forest Department on October 29, 2022, Nathwani added.
As per the document titled ‘Project Lion: Lion @47 Vision for Amrutkal’, the Barda Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat has been identified and assessed by the Wildlife Institute of India as a potential site, where a population of 40 adult and sub-adult lions can be accommodated in the larger landscape of Barda-Alech hills and coastal forests through natural dispersal.
“Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendrabhai Modi has envisioned the importance of Gir lions and drawn a detailed road map for the prosperity of our precious wildlife. As a lion and wildlife enthusiast, I am very happy that Asiatic Lions are dispersing naturally in Gujarat and that one of them reached the Barda Wildlife Sanctuary yesterday on its own. I hope this natural and suo moto migration of a lion monitored by the joint efforts of Gujarat Forest Department & local communities, will be further articulated and strengthened by Government of India & Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change through Project Lion,” said Nathwani, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and Director-Corporate Affairs, Reliance Industries Ltd. “Equally keen and concerned for the betterment of our lions is Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendra Patel who has been a source of motivation and encouragement for the foresters and wildlife lovers. I am ready to provide whatever assistance required from our end for the development of the Barda Wildlife Sanctuary as the second abode of the Asiatic Lions.”
Gujarat State Forest Department has identified Barda Wildlife Sanctuary as the second home for Asiatic Lions to naturally disperse and establish in the area. As per experts, eco-climatic and human community resemblance with many parts of the Gir Forest makes Barda Wildlife Sanctuary a suitable home for the Asiatic Lions.
This natural movement of a lion to its second home is a historic event and paves the way to accommodate the growing numbers of these majestic animals in an equally conducive environment of Barda Wildlife Sanctuary.
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