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Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park saw a third of its 3,000 lions wiped out in 1994 by canine distemper, likely brought by tourists’ dogs. Decades earlier, Tanzania’s Ngorogoro Crater lions were decimated when rains spawned swarms of blood-sucking flies that left the cats with festering sores.

But Gujarat denies any need to move lions from the state. It dismisses the idea that disease or calamity could pose a threat.

The central government and Madhya Pradesh state already have prepared the second lion home in Kuno, relocating villages and hiring specialists to build up a prey base for the cats. In 2006, an ecologist on the project filed a lawsuit challenging how such a plan could be enacted but no lions ever sent.

The country’s Supreme Court is reviewing the suit now and could resolve the dispute within weeks.