Panthera leo persica

Panthera leo persica

Yesterday I posted an eBulletin about a terrific victory in India.

There are only 400 Asiatic Lions left in the world and they all live in and around Gir National Park in the State of Gujarat. ELAW partner Ritwick Dutta was concerned, because with all the lions living in one place, an epidemic could wipe out the entire population.

ELAW’s science team provided Ritwick with numerous scientific studies that support the idea of separating populations to prevent disease outbreaks from devastating entire populations (in some cases, species).  Ritwick used this information to win a landmark Supreme Court ruling that will help save the lions.

He wrote this week that the Court ordered the government to re-locate part of the lion population to the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary and adjoining forest in the State of Madhya Pradesh:

“I am happy to share with you the Judgment of the Supreme Court of India on protection of the Asiatic Lion and other endangered species. It has been a 7-year legal fight at the Supreme Court.  On many different occasions I sought help from the ELAW network on various scientific and legal issues concerning re-introduction of species.  I received lots of input, which became part of our submissions. Thanks for all your help and support!”

Ritwick says the ruling not only directs the translocation of the Asiatic Lion from the state of Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh, but expands the meaning of the right to life to include the protection and conservation of wildlife.  The judgment also calls for the reinterpretation of the Principle of Sustainable Development “in a manner which is more eco-centric.”

Ritwick is an attorney at the EIA Resource and Response Centre. Together with his colleagues in India, he helped host the 2012 ELAW Annual Meeting, held in Goa.

Congratulations Ritwick on this hard fought victory for the lions!

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director