Friday, June 30, 2017

Cub chased by car; video goes viral

| | Jun 20, 2017, 04.58 AM ISTAHMEDABAD: A video of a car chasing an Asiatic lion cub outside the sanctuary limits, probably in Amreli district, has gone viral. The occupants of the car, who speak Gujarati, chase the cub till it escapes from its tormentors.

On Monday, the video was posted on a Facebook group called Gujarat Forest, which is run by an NGO. The chase incensed wildlife lovers. Ravi Raj, who administers the group, said: "I wanted to bring the video to the notice of officials so that action is taken." A senior officer of the forest department said that in the absence of night vigil and patrolling, such illegal shows are rampant. He said that the cub faced the risk of being run over.

The officer, who has analyzed the video, said: "It appears that the car was moving at a speed of around 35-40 kmph and the cub was made to run at a greater speed." The officer said that the vehicle chased the cub for nearly 45 seconds.

A former principal chief conservator of forests, C N Pandey, said: "Chasing lions is an offence under the Wildlife Protection Act. I have not seen the video but if people are chasing the cub, then action must be taken against them."

Ram Kumar, the additional principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), said: "We have sent the video to all senior officers and the DCF in Gir and have asked them to identify the area and the people." Action will be taken when the accused are caught, he said. Chief conservator of forests A P Singh said, "We have ordered an inquiry. The department is also ascertaining the location where the video was shot." He said that since Gujarati is heard, it is clear that the video was shot in Saurashtra.

Last year, Ravindra Jadeja, a cricketer who plays for India, had posted photographs on the social media in which he is seen standing near lions. The forest department had announced then that it would take up a massive awareness campaign to prevent such occurrences. Nothing much has been achieved since then.

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