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Gujarat issues notice to top forest officer over remarks on Gir lions

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The Gujarat government has sought an explanation from an IFS officer for his alleged objectionable and undesirable comments about the Asiatic Gir lions. The comments were made during a webinar on World Lion Day on August 10. 

A show-cause notice was issued to Shyamal Tikadar Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (wildlife) after he said that the Asiatic Gir Lions in Gir Forest should be looked at as a resource for livelihood and not just as an asset.

Tikadar is also the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state.

 Media reports said that during the webinar he also asked that provisions of ecotourism be made in the Wildlife Protection Act, which is under revision.

What state government said about lion comments

The state government in a release said that Tikadar “presented certain objectionable views and made undesirable comments on various issues.”  The release said the government does not agree with such personal views, which are also factually incorrect. 

It said they have sought an explanation from the government for his irresponsible statements against the policies of the government. A notice has also been issued against him, the release said.

Also Read: Prashant Bhushan held guilty of contempt by SC

What the officer said during a webinar on lions

During the webinar, Tikadar talked about the need for the community to earn from the wild cats. He said the lion conservation was a success because of the tolerant attitude of the community. 

He said given the right condition and space the lions will continue to breed which it has been doing quite successfully. He said revenge killings of wild animals (because they harmed humans) happen and will continue to happen.

He questioned what would happen if the community loses its tolerance as the lion population increases. He called it a time bomb waiting to blast. 

He also added that intensive management practices have led to the lions being not wild anymore. He said a substantial number of lions were microchipped. He said humans and large carnivores can co-exist only if they can earn from them.

The webinar was organised by the Central Zoo Authority and Tikadar was a panelist in the same.

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