News Excerpt
State government of Madhya Pradesh has declared Kuno as a National Park. It is underway to become second home for Asiatic lions. Recently, Supreme Court mentioned that African Cheetah from Namibia can be introduced in India.

Pre-Connect
•    KunoPalpur is a wildlife sanctuary in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh in Central India.
•    It is in news since last few years due to lion & Cheetah rehabilitation project.
•    The sanctuary has a vast richness and diversity of indigenous flora and fauna which represents a typical cross-section of the dry deciduous forest of the Central India.

Highlights
    KunoPalpur Wildlife Sanctuary is underway to become India’s second home for the Asiatic lion.
    It is to prevent decline, and possible extinction, in a single habitat due to natural disasters, epidemics, decline in prey or retaliatory killings.
    Kuno’s habitats have been fine-tuned for these new entrants with abundant populations of herbivores like nilgai, chital, sambhar and chinkara, who are the lions’ natural prey.
    Geographically, Kuno also features the same kind of semi-arid vegetation in Gir, as it is under the same biogeographic zone. This should make the transition more seamless for the lions.
    The introduction of lions at Kuno is happening 29 years after it was first proposed.

About Asiatic lion
    Asiatic lions were once distributed up to the state of West Bengal in east and Rewa in Madhya Pradesh, in central India.
    At present Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is the only abode of the Asiatic lion. The last surviving population of the Asiatic lions is a compact tract of dry deciduous forest and open grassy scrublands in southwestern part of Saurashtra region of Gujarat.
    Asiatic lions are slightly smaller than African lions. The lions face the usual threats of poaching and habitat fragmentation.
    There are also cases of lions dying by falling into the unguarded wells around the Gir Protected Area.
    They are Listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, in Appendix I of CITES and as Endangered on IUCN Red List.

Gir National park
    It is the largest compact tract of dry deciduous forests in the semi-arid western part (Gujarat) of India.
    It is the last abode of the big and regal predator, Asiatic lion (Pantheraleopersica), an endangered animal species.
    It forms a unique habitat for many mammals, reptiles, birds and insect species along with a rich variety of flora.