A day after recovering carcass of a lioness from Ghoba, forest rangers spotted the body of around seven-year-old male from the slushy bank of river Shetrunji in the same village of Savarkundla taluka in Amreli on Monday.
“There is black soil on the banks of river Shetruji, and it has turned into a bog after the flash floods. We are closing-in towards the river as water recedes and area becomes accessible. As we pushed further towards the river, the carcass of the lion was found in the mud,” Anshuman Sharma, deputy conservator of forests of Gir East division, told The Indian Express.
With this, the number of deaths of Asiatic lions in the flash flood has gone up to 10.
So far, four lion carcasses have been found downstream Shetrunji dam in Bhavnagar district, and three each in Amreli social forestry area and Gir East division, also in Amreli district.
The only wild population of Asiatic lions in the world is surviving in Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts. According to a census conducted by the forest department in May this year, there were 523 lions in these four districts. Out of them, 174 were spotted in Amreli alone.
Blue bulls, major food source for the lions, appear to be the worst affected by the flash flood of June 24, as around 200 more carcasses of Asia’s largest antelope were recovered from Bhavnagar on Monday. So far, 600 blue bulls have been killed in the heavy rain and the flash flood.
Teams of NDRF and local forest offices scanned four more islands in Shetrunji dam and found carcasses of 54 blue bulls and livestock. Around 150 carcasses of the antelopes were found downstream Shetrunji dam.
“Blue bull carcasses lying on islands in Shetruji dam have started decomposing and the NDRF teams are treating them with chemical in order to prevent dam water from being contaminated. Since the carcasses are in very bad shape and cannot be handled, we are burying them on elevated patches on the islands,” Ganga Saran Sigh, DCF of Bhavnagar said.
Singh further said that death toll of blue bulls is likely to go up as daily report from villages in downstream Talaja and Gariyadhar talukas are still awaited.
Water Supply Minister Vijay Rupani, who was supervising rescue and relief work in Amreli and Bhavnagar till Sunday, said teams are scouring 80-kilometre-long stretch of Shetrunji. “Teams are sweeping the banks of the river to find out any human body or carcasses of livestock, wild animals etc. We estimate, 4,500 livestock heads have been killed in Amreli district alone. Survey is on to asses damage to houses,” the minister said on Monday.