Project Lion, Project Dolphin announced by PM Modi
August 18, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2020, announced that the centre will launch Project Lion and Project Dolphin using modern technology to replicate the success of Project Tiger.

The projects will be launched by the central government for the biodiversity conservation of two endangered species in India. PM Modi informed about these projects in his Independence Day Speech 2020.

It was also informed that Project dolphin will focus on both the sea and river dolphins which will also give a boost to biodiversity and will create employment opportunities. This will also become a centre of attraction for tourism.

Project Lion and Project dolphin:

Prime Minister Modi in his Independence Day speech highlighted the commitment to the conservation and promotion of biodiversity and mentioned that India is one of the few countries where forest cover has been expanding.

He further added that the Project Lion and Project Dolphin has been successfully carried forward. While highlighting the increase in the Tiger population in India, he informed that under Project Lion, the work on the infrastructure for the security and protection of Indian Lions will be undertaken.

About Project Lion:

As per the official from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Project Lion announced by PM Modi will involve the conservation of Asiatic Lion and its landscape. The project will involve habitat development by engaging modern technologies in management as well as in addressing the issue of diseases in lion and its associated species through veterinary care and advanced world-class research.

The project will also be addressing the Human-Wildlife conflict which will involve local communities living in the vicinity and will also provide livelihood opportunities. Notably, in NDA's first term, the Asiatic Lion Conservation Project was launched with a budgetary contribution of Rs. 97.85 crores from the Central government. 

The Ministry had earlier approved the project for three financial years- FY 2018-2019, FY 2019-2020, FY 2020-2021. However, as per the Ministry officials, the earlier announced contribution was related to the finance aspect, while the Project Lion announced by Prime Minister Modi will not only entail the enhanced duration and finances but will also address all the issues required to conserve a species.

Asiatic Lions have been confined to Gir National Park and its surrounding environments in Gujarat’s Saurashtra. The Gujarat Forest Department in June 2020 had suggested their population to be increased by 29%- 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2020.

The department also informed that the distribution area of lions in Saurashtra has been increased by 36%. In 2015, it was 22,000 sqkm which has now gone to 30,000 sqkm. Experts have also been calling for the reintroduction of the species outside Gujarat for the long-term conservation of the Asiatic Lions.

About Project Dolphin:

The Gangetic Dolphin is one of those indicator species whose status provides information on the overall condition of the ecosystem. They also provide the status of other species in that ecosystem, for the Ganga Ecosystem as they are extremely vulnerable to the changes in water quality and flow.

Gangetic Dolphin has also been categorized as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List.

Project Dolphin, as announced by PM Modi, will aim at the protection and conservation of the Dolphins in the rivers and oceans of the country. The project will involve the conservation of aquatic habitat and Dolphins through the use of modern technology, especially in anti-poaching activities and enumeration.

Project Dolphin will engage the fishermen and other rivers and ocean dependent populations to improve the livelihood of the local communities.  The Dolphin conservation will also envisage activities that will also help in the mitigation of pollution in oceans and rivers.