Amreli district police started their annual firing practice near Khambha town, barely half a kilometre from the sanctuary. Till March 31, 950 cops will be firing not less than 30,000 rounds in this hilly area, which wildlife activists say is the natural corridor for as many as 15 Asiatic lions.
About 70 policemen of various ranks have to undergo the annual practice daily by firing 32 rounds each. This translates into nearly 2,100 rounds being fired close to the sanctuary.
"We have written to the concerned government departments to find an alternate firing range as this one is very close to the wildlife sanctuary, " said Vimalsinh Rathod, a wildlife activist in Khambha. In fact, one lions had preyed on a goat in a private farm which is a stone's throw away from the range.
"Wildlife experts say that there should not be any activity in the 10-km periphery of a wildlife sanctuary and government must declare it as a silent and eco-sensitive zone.
Deputy conservator of forests, Anshuman Sharma said that he will look into this matter.