ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Lion in Gujarat

The editorial “The Lion in Gujarat” (EPW, 18 May 2013) was most apt and expressed a common sense which is rare. It was essentially a question of Gujarati pride and had little to do with the poor Asiatic lion now squeezed into a tiny corner of the planet called “Gir”. Yes, some good legislation to stop pompous local satraps claiming exclusive ownership over wildlife species would be in order, provided of course that it is enforced.

But, on the larger question of wildlife conservation there seems little hope with states (and their leaders) having little to offer for wildlife except lip service during the annual Wildlife Week. Wildlife conservation in the country is almost exclusively funded through central and centrally-sponsored schemes. Take those away and most states would be unable (or unwilling) to feed animals in their zoos. Indira Gandhi wisely brought forests (and wildlife) on to the concurrent list and since then laws like the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 have brought a modicum of momentum to wildlife and forest conservation.

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