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10k cameras to be used for 2020 Asiatic lion census in Gujarat

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On January 1, 2020,The Wildlife Institute of India (WII),an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate change(MoFCC), is set to conduct the Asiatic Lion Census in May 2020 by using around 8,000-10,000 cameras across 25,000 sqkm (Square kilometre) area spanning 7 districts in Gujarat.
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)’s technology will be used for the lion census.Key Points:

i.15,000 sqkm area surveyed in the last census in 2015,when WII reported 523 lions in the state. The number is said to increase as the population may have crossed the 1,000-mark.

ii.Plan: The whole census area is to be divided into 3-km grid. Around 1,000 to 2,000 officers are to be employed to collect lion’s hair, nails, teeth, etc by using scientific methods laid out by NTCA. In the 2nd phase, 10,000 cameras are to be used to capture the lions.

Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica):
Asiatic lions are slightly smaller than African lions. At present Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat is the only abode of the Asiatic lion.
The most striking morphological character, which is always seen in Asiatic lions, and rarely in African lions, is a longitudinal fold of skin running along its belly.
It is listed as ‘Endangered’ under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List.
Asiatic lions were once distributed to the state of West Bengal in east and Rewa in Madhya Pradesh, in central India.

Asiatic Lion Conservation Project:
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has approved the Asiatic Lion Conservation Project for three financial years from 2018 to 2021 aimed at protecting and conserving the world’s last independent population of the Asiatic Lion and its ecosystem.
This project has “Species Conservation over a large landscape” approach, which focus on conservation and management & actions that are taken across large areas, such as entire watersheds.

About Wildlife Institute of India (WII):
Founded-
 1982
Headquarters– Dehradun, Uttarakhand

About Gujarat:
Capital
– Gandhinagar
Chief Minister– Vijay Rupani
Governor– Acharya Devvrat
National Parks– Vansda National Park ,Blackbuck National Park,Gir Forest National Park ,Marine National Park.