NEW DELHI: The government is all set to open 'creches' for lion cubs in its bid to arrest the decline in the population of the big cat in the country.
Protection of the endangered species is a top priority for the government and the environment and forests ministry is now learnt to have firmed up a plan to set up model creches for abandoned and orphaned cubs on the lines of similar facilities for human babies.
These creches will nurse injured, abandoned and vulnerable lion cubs and tigers and mechanisms will be formed to save these endangered animals. At present, these cubs have no protection and often die in the absence of care.
"We are working out plans to create a creche-like facility for care of abandoned or orphaned lion cubs. Once it is complete, the facility will be on the lines of that for humans," said environment minister Prakash Javadekar.
He said that the country takes pride in the fact that more than half the world's lion population is found in India.
Meanwhile, listing out the steps being taken by his ministry to protect tigers, Javadekar said that an assessment of their population was underway and the numbers will come by January next year.
The minister also announced the setting up of a new Tiger Reserve, the 47th in the country, in Maharashtra and said plans were afoot to prepare wildlife conservation landscapes across the country.
To check the poaching of tigers, the ministry has okayed the setting up of a Special Tiger Protection Force, Javadekar said, adding that e-surveillance would also be done to map tigers' presence across the country.
The minister also said that steps would be initiated to check the menace of rhinoceros poaching.
He also announced he would be visiting Kaziranga National Park in Assam for two days on September 4 and 5 to talk to all stakeholders regarding the steps necessary for tackling poaching and for the rehabilitation of the human population living in the reserve.
Talking about death of elephants while crossing rail tracks, Javadekar said a gate was being created for animals to pass.
"We are using all available technology to protect wildlife and, at the same time, ensure progress," he said.