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Will Soon Launch Project to Conserve Asiatic Lions, Says PM Modi

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he delivers a speech to the nation during a ceremony to celebrate India's 74th Independence Day, at the Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15, 2020. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP)

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he delivers a speech to the nation during a ceremony to celebrate India's 74th Independence Day, at the Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15, 2020. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP)

Project Lion will entail habitat development, engage modern technologies in lion management and address the issue of diseases among lions and its associated species through advanced world-class research and veterinary care.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced that his government will soon launch a project to conserve Asiatic Lions and its landscape in a holistic manner. Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on India's 74th Independence Day, Modi reminded people about Project Tiger and Project Elephant that were launched previously.

Project Lion will entail habitat development, engage modern technologies in lion management and address the issue of diseases among lions and its associated species through advanced world-class research and veterinary care, according to the environment ministry. The project will address human-wildlife conflict and will be inclusive involving local communities living in the vicinity of Lion landscape and will also provide livelihood opportunities, a spokesperson of the ministry said.

In his speech, the prime minister said in recent times, the population of tigers and lions has significantly gone up. A report released by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change earlier this year said that there has been a 29 per cent increase in the population of Asiatic Lions that live in Gujarat's Gir forest. The number has gone up from 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2020, it said.

According to 2018 census, India's wild tiger population has increased by more than 30 per cent in four years. The country now has 2,967 tigers, up from 2,226 in 2014, it said. Modi termed the increased figures a "historic achievement" and asserted that India was one of the biggest and safest habitats for tigers in the world.

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