Tiger grabbed lion's national animal status
THE TIMES OF INDIA
AHMEDABAD: A concerted campaign by the Gujarat Natural History Society in 1948 had compelled Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to declare the Asiatic lion as the national animal. But in 1972, the Bengal tiger was adopted as the national animal in a meeting of the Indian Board for Wildlife. The main reason given was that the tiger was important worldwide and was distributed across 16 states of the country, while the Asiatic lion was found only in Gir in Gujarat. Despite the numbers and vast territorial range of Bengal tigers, the government formed a special National Tiger Conservation Authority in 2005. Even with Asiatic lions on the brink of extinction, there is no such authority at the national level. Maharashtra Congress MP, and a member of the parliament committee on assurances, Hussain Dalwai, told TOI: "The committee now believes that there should be an exclusive Project Lion ." C N Pandey, a former principal chief conservator of forests, said: "Once 'Project Lion' comes into place, the Union government will be committed to allocating funds for lion conservation."