Conservation efforts for Asiatic Lion were made for the first time in the year 1910. The Nawab of Junagadh imposed a ban on the hunting of lions within the boundaries of his province. The ban was continued even when India gained independence in 1944. In 1960s and 1970s, Gir forest, the home of the last surviving Indian lions, was converted into a National Park and Sanctuary. Presently, Kuno Project is being undertaken with a view to reduce the overcrowding at Gir.
Conservationists are trying to develop Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in
Madhya Pradesh, into a natural habitat for the Asiatic lions. The excess
population of Gir will be relocated here. However, still much is left to be
done to prevent the Asiatic lions from getting extinct. In the following
lines, some Asiatic Lion conservation efforts have been proposed.
One of the major threats that the Indian lions are facing is the hostility
they suffer at the hands of humans living near the sanctuary. It has become
necessary to involve people in the conservation efforts being planned for
the Indian lions. A step that needs to be taken in this regard is to include
the local residents within the field staff of the Gir Protected Area. It
will not only sensitize people about the majestic species, but also educate
them about the need to protect the species from extinction. At the same
time, efforts should be undertaken to relocate as many humans out of the
protected area of Gir as possible.
The park boundaries can be consolidated to prevent the human-lion clash.
Much attention needs to be paid on the protection of the Asiatic lions from
poachers. It is becoming one of the greatest threats to the life of the
lions. The natural habitat of Gir National Park also needs to be protected.
The afforestation programs that were earlier carried out in the grasslands
and savannah areas of Gir need to be avoided as far as possible. Efforts
should be made to open up forest canopies and to increase the range of the
Gir PA (Protected Area).