Proposal to shift Gir lions sparks protests in Gujarat

Junagadh (Gujarat), April 17 (ANI): Protests erupted over the decision of the Supreme Court to relocate some lions from Gir national park of Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh.

Wildlife expert of Gir forest, Balkrishna Dave on Wednesday said, "The order which the Supreme Court gave yesterday is very sad and we the people of Gujarat will fight against the decision and we will fight against the order."

Ravi Chellam, an expert on Asiatic lions is the brain behind the translocation plan of some Gir lions.

Earlier, the Supreme Court agreed to Chellam's scheme against the vehement opposition by the state government of Gujarat. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Asiatic lions needed a second home and suggested Madhya Pradesh.

However, the decision sparked protests by environmentalists of Gujarat state whose love for the animal took them to the streets.

Anticipating protests against him he made a hasty retreat from the national park.

Chellam who is a renowned expert on Asiatic lions was accompanying a delegation from the Prague zoo.

According to media reports, Chellam had come to the national park to identify the lions for translocation within six months as directed by India's apex court.

Protesters holding black flags and anti Chellam placards marched near the streets of Gir forest and said that they were even ready to sacrifice their lives to prevent the relocation of the lion.

In interesting observation, these Asiatic lions at Gir express their feelings just like humans, with a large display of emotions and inter-personal bonding forming the highlight of their day- to-day behavioural pattern.

The Gir forest is one of the renowned wildlife sanctuaries in the country as it is home to Asiatic lions, which can only be found here. (ANI)