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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 522-540

Junagadh State and its Lions: Conservation in Princely India, 1879-1947

Suryodaya, 310, Gom Defence Colony, Vaishali Marg, Jaipur 302 021, India

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Suryodaya, 310, Gom Defence Colony, Vaishali Marg, Jaipur 302 021
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Conservation in Princely India, during the British period, was brought on by several causes and responses. The Junagadh State's efforts at conservation were arguably the earliest in the Indian Empire for protecting a species for its own sake. State control of hunting is an old Indian royal tradi­tion, which Junagadh never gave up. However, princely hunting closely linked to reasons of state, had to nevertheless involve its opposite-a strategy for conservation in order to ensure the survival of those hunted. Junagadh state pioneered the 'counting' of large fauna in the sub-continent. The last Nawab laid claim to total ownership of lions, as does the state government of Gujarat today. This paper traces these and related developments leading up to the in­dependence of India and briefly lays the historical foundation of present day conservation efforts.

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