India is home to the only remaining population of the Asiatic Lion in the wild. The range of the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) which once ranged in Asia Minor and Arabia through Persia to India is now restricted to the 1421 sq. km of the Gir Protected Area in Gujarat.
Although periodic census figures show a growth in lion populations this is not sufficient for us to sit back and be satisfied. The chance of this single population being completely lost due to a disease outbreak or any other natural calamity is very high. In addition to this, the growth in number of lions in the Gir region has led to many animals straying out of the Protected Area into human habitation leading to inevitable conflict. We at CAT feel that the Asiatic Lion is in dire need for a second home in India – a site, which is isolated from the current population, in a large contiguous forest area, with sufficient prey that can support the growth of a healthy population of carnivores. A lion translocation project was proposed by the Government of India where Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh was identified as a suitable site. The Gujarat Government themselves have identified areas within Gujarat as suitable sites to move some of the Gir lions. CAT has taken up this study to evaluate the various proposed lion translocation projects and ensure the future safety of the Asiatic Lions in the wild.