The lion, about 2.5 year old, was found in a thicket of gando baval (prosopis juliflora) on the side of Kankaria lake on Bandar Road at around 7 am. Later, its carcass was taken to Animal Rescue Centre in Ranigala for post-mortem.
“The lion was found dead in thicket of gando baval near the lake. There were no marks of outer injury on its body but veterinarians who conducted its post-mortem has concluded that the big cat died due to respiratory failure. To decipher the exact cause of its death, we have sent its viscera samples to Forensic Science Laboratory in Junagadh,” Ganga Saran Singh, deputy conservator of forest (DCF) of Bhavnagar told The Indian Express.
The DCF further said that circumstances primarily did not point to any foul play. “But we are investigating the case and nothing can be said conclusively at this stage,” said Singh.
The officer added that the dead lion was part of a group of two lions. “The other lion was spotted some 50 metres away from the carcass,” he said.
Incidentally, a lion was allegedly electrocuted in Vaghnagar village of Mahuva in October last year while a cub of the predator had been killed after falling in a well a week before that.
Ranigala forest in Mahuva is part of Greater Gir area where Asiatic lions, the endangered species of big cats, have settled. According to 2010 census, there 411 Asiatic lions in Gir forest and protected areas spread across, Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts in Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The next lion census is likely to be conducted in May this year.