“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. By land is meant all of the things on, over, or in the earth. Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators; you cannot conserve the waters and waste the ranges; you cannot build the forest and mine the farm. The land is one organism. Its parts, like our own parts, compete with each other and co-operate with each other. The competitions are as much a part of the inner workings as the co-operations. You can regulate them—cautiously—but not abolish them.”— Aldo Leopold
Starting the post “Growth in Population of Asiatic Lions”. A species that was once on the brink of extinction has gradually gained numbers over the last 30 years. The lion has always been synonymous with the title ‘The King of the Jungle’. However, in the last century, lions have faced threats in the form of habitat loss, poaching, interbreeding, and disease. Despite the glaring peril, there has been a gradual rise in numbers by nearly 30% in the last 5 years. Not only have their numbers gone up, but their home range has increased from 22,000 sq km to 30,000 sq km in the 9 districts of the Saurashtra region.
The Asiatic Lion Census
COVID 19 pushed the Lion census by a month. Nearly 1400 forest personnel carried out a population estimation exercise involving techniques compiled under the ‘Poonam Avlokan of Asiatic Lions’
The news comes as a major boost considering Canine Distemper Virus had permeated and killed 36 Lions in 2018. This called for urgent action where state authorities imported vaccines. At the same time, the Union Ministry of Forests and Climate Change approved a proposal for the ‘Asiatic Lion Conservation Project’. These propelled efforts using scientific management with the involvement of the local community and multi-sectoral agencies for disease control for the overall conservation of the Asiatic lion. The Forest Department played a major role. They engaged the community in building awareness. Subsequently, they tackled issues regarding habitat management, providing adequate prey base, and curtailing man-animal conflict.
Lions have been the pride of our planet. They are highly sociable beings and a sheer pleasure to watch. While relocation and creating a suitable habitat is the need of the hour, their co-existence with humans is of top priority. Although, when one compares the Asiatic lions to their African cousins, they seem far more tolerant towards human beings. In India they live in close quarters as a major part of their diet consists of livestock. With active efforts placed in the right direction, the growth in the population of Asiatic Lions is certain. We also hope that the distribution range would witness a parallel increase in the area as well.
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Born and brought up in New Delhi, it was Sharad’s childhood passion to play cricket for India. While on a holiday in 1990, he saw his first tiger. Little did he know that this one sighting would immerse him into a realm where forests and tigers were all that mattered.
Sharad’s experiences as a wildlife photographer have inspired him to observe the tiger’s behavior for over 30 years and motivated him on his own journey as an entrepreneur. He started Nature Safari India Pvt Ltd, with a focus on “Conservation through Tourism.” to align himself to the mission of saving the regal species and repopulating them in India’s forests. In 2006, he set up one of India’s premier jungle lodges in Kanha National Park.
Sharad believes that there are many lessons to be learned from a tiger that can be applied successfully to leadership—both in business and in life. Here’s a new book by Sharad Vats on management and leadership skills to learn from a Tiger.