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PhD Research in progress at Kuno Wildlife Sanctuar y, MP on “habitat assessment” & “rehabilitat ion work” (2007) - Re: [Asiatic_Lions] Kun o MP Relocation conact needed

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  • Atul Singh Nischal
    PhD Research in progress at Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, MP on “habitat assessment” & “rehabilitation work” (2007) - Re: [Asiatic_Lions] Kuno MP Relocation
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 29, 2006
      PhD Research in progress at Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, MP on “habitat assessment” & “rehabilitation work” (2007) - Re: [Asiatic_Lions] Kuno MP Relocation conact needed

      PhD Research in progress at Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, MP on “habitat assessment” & “rehabilitation work” (2007):

      PhD Research in progress at Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, MP on “habitat assessment” and “rehabilitation work”. Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary has been readied as the site for Asiatic Lion Re-introduction Project. PhD STUDENT: Mr. Faiyaz Khudsar, Email: faiyaz@.... PhD GUIDE: Dr. R J Rao, Conservation Biology Unit, School of Studies in Zoology, Jiwaji University, Gwalior 474011, M.P., India Tel: 0751-4016773(O). Email: soszool@.... ***REPORT (Pdf Document): “Proposed re-introduction of the Asiatic Lion in the Kuno Palpur Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh, India”, from "Reintroduction News", April 2005 - Contributed by R. J. Rao and Faiyaz A. Khudsar, SOS Zoology, Jiwaji University, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India. E-mail: soszool@... and faiyaz@...



      ----- Forwarded Message ----

      From: R J Rao <soszool@...>
      To: Atul Singh Nischal <atulsinghnischal@...>
      Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 12:10:12 AM
      Subject: Re: Fw: [Asiatic_Lions] Kuno MP Relocation conact needed - Atul Kumar, Indian Wildlife Conservation

      Hi, Mr. Atul

      My student Mr. Faiyaz is doing Ph.D. under my guidance in the Kuno Palpur Sanctuary on habitat assessment and rehabilitation work.

      R J Rao

      Dr. R J Rao,
      Conservation Biology Unit
      School of Studies in Zoology
      Jiwaji University
      Gwalior 474011, M.P., India Tel: 0751-4016773(O)

      From: "Atul@..." <atulkumar62@...>
      To: Asiatic_Lions@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, December 26, 2006 6:08:02 PM

      Subject: [Asiatic_Lions] Kuno MP Relocation conact needed

      Kuno MP (Asiatic Lion) Relocation conact needed

      Is there anyone on the group who is involved in this relocation/Project of wild Asiatic Lions from Gir Forest in Gujarat to Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, India.

      If so - I would like to  correspond with them regarding support for this repopulation.

      Atul Kumar
      Indian Wildlife Conservation Trust.

      IndianProduct. Com
      864 Madison Street
      Crown Point IN 46307
      001-219-308- 8282; Email:
      "Atul@..." atulkumar62@...


      Kindly send a copy of your reply to me also at atulsinghnischal@..., Thanks

      Atul Singh Nischal



      ----- Forwarded Message ----

      From: faiyaz Khudsar <faiyaz@...>
      To: atulsinghnischal@...
      Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2006 1:58:14 PM

      Subject: Re: "Asiatic Lion Controversy": Gujarat should immediately change its "selfish & biased" stand over the re-introduction of "some" of it's wild Asiatic Lions to Central India.

      Hi Atul

      It is great to hear from you. You are very right that we must not become masters of extinction. It is not about the Gujrat's pride but what is important is long term survival of the Gujrat's pride and that could only be achieved by sending a pride to Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary.

      Hope to hear more from you.

      Faiyaz Khudsar


      Proposed re-introduction of the Asiatic Lion in the Kuno Palpur Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh, India

      Contributed by R. J. Rao and Faiyaz A. Khudsar, SOS Zoology, Jiwaji University, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India.

      From: Reintroduction News, April 2005

      A very ambitious project was initiated towards the end of the 20th century to bring the roar of the Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo persica) back to the forest of Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS), Madhya Pradesh (M.P.), in the new millennium. At present, Gir National Park and Sanctuary in Gujarat is the Asiatic lion’s last home in the world. More than 300 of these big cats represents an extremely restricted population distribution: this leaves them vulnerable to a variety of extinction threats like epidemic diseases and other natural calamities. A large lion population in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania distributed over a large area recently suffered a devastating outbreak of canine distemper disease in which 75% of the lions have been infected and at least 25% of the population has been wiped out. If an epidemic of such proportion was to occur in Gir, it would be extremely difficult to save the Asiatic lions from extinction, in particular given the small size of the park, and also the relatively very small population.

      Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary falls in Vijaypur Tehsil of Sheopur district of M.P. It falls in the northern part of the Vindhyan Hill Range . The Sanctuary is located between the longitude 77º07‘-77º26‘ and North latitude 25º20‘-25º53‘ and this area supports a variety of wildlife species. The Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary recently got prominence as it was designated as the most suitable site, of the three sites surveyed, for the Asiatic lion re-introduction project. A team of wildlife biologists from the Wildlife Institute of India carried out the habitat feasibility study and concluded that the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary offers tremendous potential for establishing a viable population of Asiatic lions outside of the Gir National park of Gujarat state which is the only surviving wild population. Considering the rich floral and faunal diversity of the area, the Government of M.P. by its notification No.15/8/79/10/2 dated 16/01/81 declared the 344.68 km2 area, bifurcated by the Kuno River , as a wildlife sanctuary. The Kuno River is actually the lifeline of the sanctuary as the water is retained at numerous pools along the riverbed within the sanctuary. There are in all 24 villages situated within the sanctuary inhabited mostly by Saharia tribes. With a view to prevent the extinction of the Asiatic lions, the KWS in the northwest Madhya Pradesh was selected as the site to establish a second free-ranging population of the Asiatic lion.

      The KWS has already been elevated to the Kuno Wildlife Division with an additional area of about 900 km2 as a buffer zone. This sprawling area across diverse habitat types comes under the tropical dry deciduous forest with major tree species such as Salai (Boswellia serreta), Kardhai and Dhawra (Anogeissus pendula & A. latifolia), Khair (Acacia catechu) across an extensive savanna woodland. KWS is home to leopard, wolf and wild dog or dhole and occasionally tigers. The major ungulates include chital, samber, nilgai, wild pig, chinkara, blackbuck and four-horned antelopes. Primates such as common langurs and a large number of bird species can be seen in the sanctuary. After KWS was selected as the site for reintroduction of the Asiatic lion, one of the first tasks at hand was the sensitive job of relocation and proper rehabilitation of 24 villages from within the sanctuary and to create a human-free environment for the lions. Today the sanctuary is totally devoid of human-pressure with the continuing rehabilitation process.

      Despite the fact that the implementation of the Asiatic lions re-introduction project has been delayed by more than two years due to unavoidable circumstances, considerable success has been made in the relocation of villages from the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary. Out of seven villages scheduled in Phase-1, six of them (Chapret, Durredi, Ladar, Palpur, Meghpura & Jakhoda) have completely been relocated to new relocation site whereas 75% families of the seventh village Paira have also been relocated to a new site. Apart from these villages Six villages namely Khalai, Barred, Chak Parond, Khajuri Khurd, Khajurikala and Taparpura proposed in Phase-2 have also been relocated completely. Monitoring of ecological changes has been initiated and important tasks such as the creation of water holes and weed eradication have been initiated. Population estimation of wild ungulates suggests an encouraging trend in chital and sambar populations and the preliminary data collected will be compared with the ongoing data collection of the ungulate population. It would help to understand the trend of the ungulates population and its response to the overall decrease in the biotic pressure. Similarly, vegetation sampling of the entire sanctuary has been initiated to understand the extent of habitat recovery after village relocation.

      Contributed by R. J. Rao and Faiyaz A. Khudsar, SOS Zoology, Jiwaji University , Gwalior , Madhya Pradesh , India .

      E-mail: Dr. R. J. Rao : soszool@..., Faiyaz A. Khudsar: faiyaz@...

      [PDF] Re-introduction NEWS: No. 24 April 2005
      File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
      Proposed re-introduction of the. Asiatic Lion in the Kuno Palpur. Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh , India . A. very ambitious project was initiated towards the end ...
      www.iucnsscrsg.org/images/Rnews24.pdf - Similar pages




      “Controversy” over saving the last Asiatic lions

      By: Peter Jackson, Chairman Emeritus, Cat Specialist Group, World Conservation Union (IUCN).

      From: Reintroduction News, April 2006

      The article (Reintroduction News, April 2005) by R. J. Rao and Faiyaz A. Khudsar describes the project on Asiatic lion translocation in India, but does not touch on the controversies which are blocking implementation of the ultimate aim i.e. establishment of a secure second population in Palpur Kuno reserve in Madhya Pradesh (MP), as a precaution against a calamity wiping out the subspecies. The last wild Asiatic lions are confined to the Gir reserve in Gujarat State in western India . According to a 2005 census report there are now 359 lions. This represents a conservation success, since a century ago estimates were as low as 20 because of over-hunting.

      The ruler of the princely Junagadh State , where the survivors were living, banned hunting, with support from the British government in India , and, despite ups and
      downs, the population has grown. Unfortunately, the Gujarat State government has repeatedly declared that it will not allow any lions to be taken out of the State, where
      they are considered a State treasure. On 5th September 2004 , the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that translocation of some lions to Palpur Kuno reserve would take place by the end of the year. But a few days earlier, The Times of India had reported that the government of Gujarat had turned down a central government request for two or three prides of lions. Gujarat ’s Forest Minister, Mangubhai Patel, said: “There is no need to shift lions from Gir. We will ensure their survival here.” There has been no indication since then of any chance in the policy. The Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) of MP, R.L. Saxena, said that the Gujarat government had been asked for a pride consisting of 8-15 lions (2-5 males, 4-5 females, plus cubs). This would be the first of two prides planned for translocation under the project and it was expected to arrive by the end of 2004, or by early 2005, he added.

      The proposal for a second home was made by the Indian government in the early 1990s on the recommendation of the Wildlife Institute of India. The Gir reserve is considered to be over-crowded with over 300 lions; 50 have already migrated from the reserve in recent years and settled in surrounding areas. Furthermore, the Gir lions have been found to be closely genetically related as a result of inbreeding arising from their decline and a later population crash in the late 19th Century. That raises the risk that an epidemic could wipe out the last wild Asiatic lions, which once ranged from Greece to India . Such an epidemic (of Canine Distemper Virus CDV) killed about one-third of the 3,000 African lions in the Serengeti in the early 1990s. The 345 km2 Palpur-Kuno reserve, near Shivpuri in northern Madhya Pradesh, was chosen as a suitable habitat for a second Asiatic lion population after a survey of what remains of its historical range. The PTI report quoted MP’s Chief Conservator as saying that the initial stages of the project had been completed within the stipulated time; over 1,565 families from 34 villages in Palpur-Kuno had been re-located at a cost of about Rupees 20 million (nearly US$ 2 million) in order to accommodate the lions. In Gujarat , the government has proposed establishing new reserves for Gir lions within Saurashtra, the region where the Gir reserve exists, but scientists say that lions in such reserves would not be isolated from the Gir population, and complete separation is essential to protect the lions from any disease outbreak spreading from one area to the other. Palpur-Kuno lies nearly 1,000 km east of the Gir, and the area between has many obstacles to migration, such as cities and towns, industries and desert.

      Peter Jackson, Chairman Emeritus, Cat Specialist Group, World Conservation Union (IUCN).

      E-mail: peterfr.jackson@...

      [PDF] Re-introduction NEWS — No. 25 April 2006
      File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
      Asiatic lion translocation in India , but does not touch on. the controversies which are blocking ... population in Palpur Kuno reserve in Madhya Pradesh ...
      www.iucnsscrsg.org/images/Rnews25.pdf - Similar pages



      IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group

      Re-introduction Specialist Group, RSG Downloads Available:
      To access and download the various RSG Newlsetters, Policy Guidelines, RSG Resorce CD and other publications please visit the Downloads Page.



      Please also see:
      Gir lions on the verge of extinction
      Bahar Dutt, CNN-IBN, Posted Tuesday , January 17, 2006 at 19:03

      Watch the Video:

      News Source:



      Amongst other research sources also visit:

      “Asiatic Lion information Centre” and also its “Latest News (1997 onwards)” pages to see how Gujarat has been acting overly selfish and preventing the much needed re-introduction of “some” Asiatic Lions to Central India, how important it is for Gujaratis to become wiser now to the true needs of ensuring the long term survival of their Asiatic Lions:




      Kuno: Asiatic Lion’s second home in making

      Faiyaz A. Khudsar writes:

      An ambitious project was started towards the end of the 20th century to bring the roar of the Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo persica) back to the forest of Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS), Madhya Pradesh, in the new millennium.

      It is important to understand why the Asiatic lion needs a second home. Many of the India ’s wildlife species are threatened with extinction due to wide spread habitat destruction and poaching. The only place that the Asiatic lion is currently found in the wild is the Gir forest.

      Study of conservation biology suggests that reintroduction of lions to KWS might bring full evolutionary potential and promote genetic vigor, and distribute the population, leaving the species less vulnerable to threats it now faces. The goal of reintroduction is to create a new, free ranging population of lions in areas where they once roamed, and have now completely disappeared. Reintroduction would help to ensure the long-term survival of the species.

      With a view to preventing the extinction of the Asiatic lion, the Wildlife Institute of India conducted a survey in search of a new home for the big cat. The KWS in the northwest Madhya Pradesh was selected as the site to establish a second free ranging population of this mega carnivore.

      Kuno river: Lifeline of the sanctuary
      Photo: FA Khudsar

      The KWS, located between latitudes of 25°30’- 25°53’E and longitude of 77°07’-77°26’N, is situated in the Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh. It is about 120 km. from Gwalior . An area of 344.686 sq. km. was set-aside as a Sanctuary in 1981. Since then this has been elevated to the Kuno Wildlife Division with an additional area of 900 sq. km. as a buffer area.

      The Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary encompases a diverse range of habitat types which can be classified as:

      1. Riparian habitat
      2. Savanna woodland
      3. Ravenous habitat
      4. Plateau
      5. Evacuated agricultural fields

      Riparian habitat presents a specific ecosystem and acts as a corridor, connecting a mosaic of habitats viz. Plateau, valley and savanna woodland. Savannah woodlands are distributed throughout the sanctuary. These are grasslands interspersed with woodland and found in association with Boswellia serreta, Acacia catechu, A. leucopholea, Diospyros melanoxylon, Butea monosperma and other tree species. These woodlands provide coverage and support to the both prey & predators. Ravenous habitat supports smaller cats such as Caracal and other species such as porcupine, wolf, nilgai etc. Most of the Plateaus are dominated by Anogeissus pendula and A. latifolia.

      The evacuated sites are expected to undergo various ecological changes. At present, they are being colonized by Zyziphous species, which has excellent food value for ungulates. This habitat may further give space to different species of grasses and ultimately become savanna woodland. These assumptions are made on the basis of changes seen taking place in the villages  (Tongra, Khairkacha and Kudikera), which were abandoned around 25-30 years ago. I have already initiated research to develop a proper monitoring system in Kuno and by the beginning of next year some results are expected.

      Savannah woodland
      Photo: FA Khudsar

      Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary is home to Tiger, Leopard, Wolf and Wild Dog or Dhole. The major ungulates include Chital, Samber, Chinkara, Nilgai, Blackbuck and four-horned antelopes. Wild pig, the common langur and a large number of bird species can also be seen in the sanctuary. Recently, in April one leopard was seen with two cubs in the night. My observations suggest encouraging growth in the population of ungulates because with the increasing sightings of Chital, Samber and Nilgai, fawn sighting become quite frequent. I am working on the estimation of the ungulate population and expect first results by the beginning of next year.

      After KWS was selected as the site for reintroduction of the Asiatic lion, one of the first tasks at hand was the sensitive job of relocation and rehabilitation of 24 villages from within the sanctuary and to create human-free environment for the lions. This task has been almost completed and development works are in progress at the rehabilitation site.

      Relocated former Village
      Photo: FA Khudsar

      Rehabilitated Village
      Photo: FA Khudsar

      Consecutive droughts in last four years, followed by severe drought this year has negatively affected the entire development.  Present Divisional Forest Officer, J.S. Chauhan is very sensitive to the people's cause. Therefore, the Sanctuary management have created employment opportunities by initiating a variety of paid work programmes, especially for the watershed management and development at and around the rehabilitated site. Additionally, about 100 people were engaged as fire lookouts from the neighborhood communities. This serves two purposes; generating employment as well as creating a close network for fire protection within the Sanctuary. Another benefit of this work has been to bring the local communities closer to the Sanctuary management.

      The Kuno river, which is the lifeline of the sanctuary, has been shrinking every day due to sporadic rain this year. What water is left is in the form of scattered pools. Such water scarcity has not been seen in the last 40-50 years. Therefore, Sanctuary management have created waterholes in the form of ponds and saucers.  Water has been brought from Kairkhoh, a perennial spring, covering about 8 kms by gravitational force through pipes to a pond known as Kemtalaiya. Additional saucers & small ponds have been created in between. In my opinion, it will reduce the travelling efforts of wild animals and therefore a proper energy budget of the animals would be maintained.

      A systematic awareness campaign was also initiated to prepare neighborhood communities to live with a mega carnivore like lion - an animal that they have never encountered before. This campaign was initiated at various places in association with the Sanctuary management and the Biodiversity Conservation Trust of India (BCTI) in which information on the lion reintroduction program has been given. I have given exclusive slide shows at various places during this campaign, under the banner of BCTI, in which stress has been given to reduce the number of cattle. I tried to convince the community, with the help of slides, that a healthy population of big cats in the neighboring forest helps the community with the increased water level in their wells as well as increased soil moisture content in their agricultural fields. The Biodiversity Conservation Trust of India & the Sanctuary management will continue these awareness camps, taking place every three months.

      Asiatic lion at Gir
      Photo: JS Chauhan

      Now, the Sanctuary is devoid of human presence and with the encouraging prey base sightings, there are a number of issues which need special attention for the larger lion reintroduction program. What we need, is an unified administrative and scientific set-up, amalgamated in the effort to ensure the establishment of second home for the Asiatic lion and for its long term survival.

      Faiyaz A. Khudsar, a wildlife researcher & a founder member of the Biodiversity Conservation Trust of India, Delhi.
      E-mail: faiyaz@...


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