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Centre offers to swap Gir lions for tigers

Press Trust Of India  |  Mumbai/ New Delhi 

Facing stiff opposition from Gujarat, the Centre has made an offer to re-introduce tigers in the Dangs region of the state in exchange for Asiatic lions which it plans to relocate in Madhya Pradesh. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today said he had made an offer to re-introduce tigers in the Dangs region of Gujarat where the big cats ruled the jungles about 25 years back.

"I have suggested to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi that the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will work to re-introduce tigers in Dangs as an incentive for the state to part with its lions," he said at a function to release a 'Handbook on Wildlife Law Enforcement in India'.

Gujarat has been opposing the Centre's decade-old proposal to relocate Asiatic lions from the Gir reserve to a 300 sq km forest at Kunopalpur in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh. The matter is before Supreme Court. Ramesh admitted that he has been unable to find a reasonable reply to Gujarat Chief Minister's contention of community protection of wildlife in the state. The Maldhari community is known to protect the lions even at the cost of their own lives, he noted.

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First Published: Wed, February 17 2010. 00:02 IST