A bench led by Justice K S Radhakrishnan of the Supreme Court of India on 15 April 2013 ordered Gujarat to share the endangered Asiatic lions with its neighbouring state- Madhya Pradesh. The population of these Asiatic lions has almost become negligible but because of certain conservation efforts in the state of Gujarat in past 50 years, these endangered lions have been saved from extinction. At present, the population of these lions in Gir forests of Gujarat is 400.
The political leaders in Gujarat resisted relocation of these lions, but Supreme Court ordered that they should be relocated in order to save them from elimination because of fire or epidemic. Conversationalists too had recommended establishment of second sanctuary outside Gujarat in order to make sure about genetic diversification.
Back in 1986, the Union Government decided to relocate some of the Asiatic lions from Gir forest in Gujarat to Kuno game sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh in order to prevent extinction of these species.
Gujarat had earlier opposed Madhya Pradesh’s appeal for relocation of these lions on the grounds of poor record of protection of tiger population in Panna reserve forest. What number of Asiatic lions should be moved to Kuno game sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh is yet to be determined. Gujarat has now been given a deadline of six months to successfully complete this lion relocation.