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Approximately 300 Asiatic lions Panthera leo persica are confined to the 1,883 km2 Gir forests in Gujarat, western India. To establish a second home for the Asiatic lion in its former range, Kuno Wildlife Division (1,280 km2, with a core 345 km2 Sanctuary) has been identified in Madhya Pradesh. To assess whether the Sanctuary has sufficient wild ungulates to support a population of lions 17 transects totaling 461 km were surveyed over an area of 280 km2 in early 2005. The density of potential ungulate prey was 13 animals km−2. There are also c. 2,500 feral cattle, left behind by translocated villagers; the cattle are considered to be buffer prey in case droughts adversely affect the populations of wild ungulates. Control of poaching, moving of two villages, grassland management and building a rubble wall around the Division to keep out livestock would lead to a substantial rise in the population of ungulates (to c. 20 animals km−2) by the end of 2007. This density would support the first group of five lions (three females and two males) due to be reintroduced in the beginning of 2008. Even if all the three females raise cubs there will be sufficient wild prey by the end of 2009 to support the males, females and cubs.
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