The proposal, created by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the Gujarat forest department, talks of creating ‘an inviolate space of 1,000 square kilometres’ (sq km).
- Project Lion was launched by Narendra Modi on August 15, 2020.
- Lions are found in Gujarat across an area of 30,000 sq km called the Asiatic Lion Landscape (ALL).
- But only 250 sq km of the Gir National Park is the exclusive space for lions while the rest is shared with people, according to the Project Lion proposal.
- Inviolate spaces in the Gir forest are areas free from anthropomorphic pressures.
Who are Maldharis?
- Maldhar is, a traditional pastoral people found in and around the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.
- They live in settlements called nessand make their living by selling milk from their water buffaloes.
- They might end up being uprooted from their homes if the Project Lion proposal takes shape.
Maldhari and Asiatic Lions
- Maldhari and lions coexist in the state, where lions get a considerable part of their food from Maldhari livestock, and Maldharis profit substantially by free access to forest resources.
- The study even found that the absence of Maldharis and their livestock would negatively impact the lion population in Gir.
How it is against their rights?
- The proposal for the relocation of Maldharis is also in contravention of the provisions of the Schedule Tribe and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, (FRA) 2006.
- Under the provisions of the Act, forest dwellers cannot be displaced unless the rights settlement process has been completed.
Gir National Park
- Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Sasan Gir.
- It is a forest and wildlife sanctuary near TalalaGir in Gujarat.
- There are approximately 600 Asiatic lions left in the Gir Forest of Western India.
- It is their last remaining natural habitat.