Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lioness, 3 cubs from Gir captured near Vadodara

Vadodara (PTI): A lioness and her three cubs were on Sunday captured from near a village in Gondal area by forest department personnel following a seven-day effort after the animals strayed into human habitat, triggering panic among residents.

"Villagers of Gondal taluka had spotted the animals on October 26. The straying of lions into human habitat had caused panic amongst the people, who avoided going to their fields," Sudeep Kumar Nanda, Gujarat's Additional Chief Secretary of Forest and Environment Ministry, said.

The lions had strayed from Sansagir sanctuary. Following the villagers' plea, teams of forest department from Junagadh, Dhari and Rajkot ranges were dispatched to track down the animals, Nanda said.

The lioness and her cubs were finally trapped in cages at Garnare village, about 200 km from Vadodara.

Nanda said it was first such incident, when a large group of lions had entered human habitation and remained there for such a long time. The animals had preyed on five cattle whose carcasses were found.

The presence of the lions was established by the pugmarks, Bharat Pathak, Conservator, told PTI over phone.

Cages were placed at a number of places. Incidentally, as the lioness had been trapped once earlier and was released with a radio collar around her neck, it was easy to trace her, he said.

However, forest officials refrained from using tranquilisers as the animals could have escaped into the thick vegetation and also due to fears of their drowning in a nearby pound, Nanda said.


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