Thursday, November 1, 2007

Supreme Court issues notice on death of lions.

J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and the Gujarat Government for a direction to investigate the cause of death of lions in Gir forest in Gujarat and to submit a report to the court.

A Bench of the Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V. Raveendran issued the notice on a Public Interest Litigation petition filed by Elephant G. Rajendran alleging that the lion population in Gir forest had dwindled over the year due to poaching and lack of adequate steps to protect them. The Bench appreciated the efforts of the petitioner (who himself argued) for espousing the cause of animals and sought reply from the Centre and Gujarat government on the petitioner’s allegations.

In his PIL, Mr. Rajendran said that as per the 2000 census there were 359 lions in Gir forest but the lion population had gradually dwindled. He said that in March three Asiatic lions were killed and the claws, skull and bones were removed by the poachers. This heinous incident had occurred 500 metres away from the Forest Office. It was stated that the bones were sold to China where they were used for preparing medicines. He alleged that the poachers had not been apprehended and no case had been registered.

He said that if effective steps were not taken then there was a possibility of further decrease of the lion population in the country. He sought a CBI probe into the killings and a direction to the respondents to take effective steps to protect the lions.


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