Saturday, October 20, 2007
Five Gir lions electrocuted with Photo.
Photo Source: http://www.divyabhaskar.co.in/2007/10/19/0710192330_dhari.html
20 Oct 2007, 0009 hrs IST,TNN
AHMEDABAD/RAJKOT: In yet another shocking instance of man-animal conflict, a factor that has been the bane of India’s most prized wildlife assets, five Asiatic lions were electrocuted by a villager in Amreli district within the Gir forest range while trying to protect his farm and cattle from the big cats.
District authorities said the killings took place around three days back when the lions strayed into an electrically charged barbed wire fence put up by Durlabhji Vadharia, a cotton farmer in Prempara village. He than buried their carcasses inside a deep pit to evade detection.
Vadharia, who said he had put up the electric fence to protect his farm from stray animals, was arrested on Friday. The incident came to light after villagers noticed five lions missing from a pride of nine that had strayed into areas around their fields. The surviving four are cubs aged less than a year.
Conservator of forests Bharat Pathak said, ‘‘I remember only one incident of a jackal and leopard getting electrocuted together; I have never heard or seen lions dying such a death.’’
Pathak said all parts of the lions — along with their claws — were intact which ruled out poaching. Forensic experts found electrocution marks on the torsos of the three lions.
If convicted, Vadharia could get up to seven years imprisonment.
While forest officials said the lions may have been killed three days back, Vadharia claimed the deaths took place a week ago. He said he dumped the big cats — three lionesses and two cubs — in a three feet-deep pit and covered it with fertiliser so that passers-by would not get suspicious and the carcasses would decompose quickly.