Thursday, May 26, 2016

Gujarat:13 lions en-caged after spate of big cat attacks

Published: 22nd May 2016 03:03 PM
Last Updated: 22nd May 2016 03:03 PM
VADODARA: As many as three lives were claimed in attacks by Asiatic lions in eastern Gir forests in the last two months, following which 13 lions of a pride roaming in the area were captured and en-caged in accordance with Gujarat government's orders.
"An 11-year-old boy, identified as Jayesh Solanki, was attacked by Asiatic lioness in Dhari taluka. He was found dead in a mango orchard owned by sarpanch (village head) of Ambardi village of Amreli district on May 19," Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF), Dhari-East range of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, T Karuppasamy said.
There were pug marks of a lioness near the place from where the body was recovered. His father also got injured in trying to save him, he said. "Prior to the minor's death, two others, identified as 50-year-old woman Labhuben D Solanki and 60-year-old man Jinabhai Makwana, were killed in attacks by Asiatic lions in Bharad village and Ambardi village, respectively, of Amreli district," he said.
With the capturing of three lions last night, the total number of the big cats caught and caged has gone upto 13. This exercise would continue, J A Khan, Additional Chief Conservator of Forest (wildlife) of Gujarat government, said today.
"Medical examination of the en-caged lions would help in ascertaining as to which of the felines attacked the minor boy (Jayesh Solanki). At this juncture, it can not be said with certainty that the lions have turned into man-eaters," he said.
The process of awarding compensation of Rs 2.25 lakh to the kin of the victims has been initiated, Karuppasamy said, adding a case of accidental death has been registered by the police in each of the incidents and further probe is on.
Local residents as well as leaders of Amreli have been demanding action against man-eater lions for quite some time. Man-lion conflicts are rare in and around Gir forests, said to be the last abode of Asiatic Lions, where as per the last census conducted in 2015, the count of the big cat stood at 523.

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