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State-of-the-art diagnostic and research centre for lions to come up in Gujarat

A diagnostic and research centre for lions will soon be set up in Gujarat

Lions are the pride of India and more so for Gujarat as that is the only region where the Asiatic lions are found. Obviously, the State does its best not only to keep them protected but also ensure they remain healthy and safe.

Making an important announcement on the World Lions Day (August 10), the Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that for the purpose of conservation of the Asiatic lions and to pre-empt their mortality due to any type of infectious diseases, the State Government will establish a diagnostic and research centre. He said this centre will be a state-of-the-art establishment, to enable it to deal with all types of cases of infection.

The Chief Minister made this announcement when he was taking part in a virtual celebration of the Gujarat Government on the occasion of World Lion Day. According to a report in the Indian Express, during the celebration he said: “We will set up a state-of-the-art disease diagnostic and research centre in future so that we do not have to lose lions to some infectious diseases.”

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The Government of Gujarat has been observing World Lion Day since 2016.

On the occasion Rupani speaking about the lions said they represented strength and holiness and that is the reason they hold special relevance in Hinduism.

The Chief Minister said: “In Hinduism, we have associated lions with gods and goddesses. In our culture, there is the importance of Narsinh incarnation (of god). Lion is the vehicle of Goddess Amba. Not only as an animal, we worship the lion as a symbol of holiness and strength and conserve it. Our country’s emblem is also made of three faces of lions.”

Reeling out data, the CM said that the lion population had increased by 29 per cent in the last five years. Further, he stated that the population of the big cat had spread over 30,000 square kilometre area in the State. The areas where lions are present include Chotila, Sayala, Gir, Amreli, Bhavnagar etc.

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It may be noted that In March this year, the Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Babul Supriyo had informed the Rajya Sabha that the Centre will be setting up a wildlife disease, diagnostic and research centre. This he said was part of the proposed Project Lion, the objective of which was to enhance the efforts to conserve Asiatic lions.

Project Lion is on the lines of Project Tiger and has been drafted after consultation and discussion with Gujarat Government and Wildlife Institute of India. It aims to sustain lions through scientific conservation management and reduce the risk of their extinction.

At present in Gir, Gujarat there are two lion hospitals and seven rescue centres to treat the sick or injured lions.