Gujarat has lost over 300 lions, including cubs, in the last five years, the state Assembly was informed on Friday. Forest Minister Mangubhai Patel, in a written reply, said that 310 lions and 547 leopards died due to natural or unnatural causes in the last five years. He was replying to a written query submitted by the Congress' Tejashree Patel during the ongoing Budget session of the state assembly, reported PTI.
The forest minister said that 25 lions and 121 leopards died due to unnatural reasons, the causes varying from falling into open wells, being hit by trains or vehicles, and electrocution. Six lions and cubs died after being hit by trains outside the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, considered the last abode of the endangered Asiatic lion. As many as 10 lions died after they were swept away in flood waters in Bhavnagar and Amreli districts during the June 2015 deluge in Saurashtra.
Patel said that the government was taking various measures to protect the big cats from mishaps. These included covering open wells with a parapet wall, building speed breakers on roads near the sanctuary, putting a fence on both sides of railway tracks on some routes, and identifying electric fences illegally put up by farmers near the reserves to stop lions from entering in their fields.