The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has today pledged its support to the Gujarat Government in a bid to save the critically endangered Asiatic lion from extinction.
ZSL Director General Ralph Armond has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Gujarat in India, pledging ZSL’s expertise and support to safeguard the future of these precious big cats, of which there are only 400 individuals left in the wild.
The MOU was witnessed by Mr. Mangubhai Chhaganbhai Patel, Honourable Minister of Forest and Environment, Tribal Development and Shri Bachubhai Maganbhai Khabad, Honourable Minister of State Fisheries, Forest and Environment.
Mr Armond said: “This MOU marks the start of a new and incredibly exciting collaborative project between ZSL, Gujarat Forest Department (GFD) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). We are looking forward to working closely together to bring Asiatic lions back from the brink of extinction.
“This is a major milestone for ZSL’s Asiatic Lions campaign, which aims to raise funds to carry out vital conservation work in the wild as well as create Land of the Lions, a state-of-the-art Asiatic lion home and breeding centre at ZSL London Zoo.”
With such a tiny population of Asiatic lions remaining in a small pocket of the Gir Forest, they are particularly vulnerable to the threats of disease and conflict with humans. ZSL will be working with the GFD and WII to support vital lion patrols and monitoring within Gir National Park, train forest guards and invest in state of the art veterinary facilities for Sakkarbaug Zoo.
As well as providing animal husbandry and specialist veterinary and technical expertise, ZSL will be able to gain insights from working with GFD and WII, whose on-the-ground knowledge will help with further conservation breeding efforts. ZSL hopes this new partnership will help to increase the dwindling population of Asiatic lions in the wild.
For the third year running, Liontrust are proud sponsors of the Asiatic lions at ZSL London Zoo.