The decision of the Supreme Court ordering the State of Gujarat to transfer a few lions to Madhya Pradesh in the next six months is being seen as a defeat of the Gujarat govt, led by someone often referred to as lion himself. The state government is planning to file a strong review petition opposing the decision.
There are an estimated 411 lions in the Gir forests of Junagadh. It is the last resting place of the majestic Asiatic lion in whole of Asia. India teemed with lions as recently as the 1900's but rampant hunting by mostly Indian royalty anda few Britishers and later on the invasion of forests by man has reduced the lions to the verge of extinction.
A genuine fear is expressed by many that an infectious disease could wipe out the entire lion population as they are concentrated at one place only. The possibillity of that happening may be very low but looking to the extremely low numbers involved it can be devastating.
It has to be appreciated that the Gujarat government has indeed taken exemplary care and spent adequate funds to protect its lions. Immense credit goes to the Maldharis a cattle owning community living in the Gir forests who have always extended their cooperation to save the lion and look after them, even at loss of their cattle and injuries caused to many of them by the lions. It
However their seem to be attempts to project the judgement as a loss of face for both Gujarat and its 'lion' Chief Minister. This should not be permitted. After all the intention of the court is noble. It is not disfavouring Gujarat or favouring MP. It is acting only in the interest of the lion. Further MP is in India and in fact a neighbouring state of Gujarat.
One of the fears expressed is that the tourism of MP will get tremendous boost as it already has tigers and now will also showcase lions. This will result in loss of tourists to Gujarat. This is not true. Both J&K and Himachal Pradesh have similar mountain landscapes to offer and both are equally patronised by tourists. On the contrary it can introduce a healthy competition between Gujarat and MP to woo tourists to their states.
After all a handful of lions are sought to be transferred. Let not a hue and cry be unnecessarily raised in Gujarat. Let the lions be transferred with Band, Baja and Baraat. Who knows? It could turn out to be a wise decision.