10 li­ons encaged af­ter spate of at­tacks

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - — PTI

Ahmed­abad: Ten out of a pride of 13 li­ons have been encaged in ac­cor­dance with Gu­jarat gov­ern­ment's or­ders af­ter three peo­ple were killed by big cats in east­ern Gir forests in the last two months.

"We have caught 10 li­ons so far. We are screen­ing the area to trace the other big cats that are said to be mem­bers of the pride of 13 li­ons roam­ing in the area," deputy con­ser­va­tor of for­est ( DCF), Dhari- East range of Gir Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary, T Karup­pasamy said.

"Out of the 10 li­ons, four are male and six are fe­male. Next, we would con­duct pug mark iden­ti­fi­ca­tion exam and tests to find traces of hu­man hair, bone and re­mains of clothes from their bod­ies to as­cer­tain the man- eaters among those," he said.

"The man- eaters, once iden­ti­fied, would be sent to Sakkar­baug Zoo in Ju­na­gadh where such li­ons are kept, while the others would be re­lo­cated to a safer zone," the DCF said.

"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 at Am­bardi vil­lage of Am­reli dis­trict on May 19," Karup­pasamy said, adding, "there were pug marks of a li­on­ess near the place from where the body was re­cov­ered. His fa­ther was also in­jured in his fu­tile at­tempt of sav­ing him." "Be­fore that in­ci­dent, a 50- year- old woman, iden­ti­fied as Lab­huben D Solanki and 60- year- old man, Jin­ab­hai Mak­wana, were killed by Asi­atic li­ons at Bharad and Am­bardi vil­lages re­spec­tively in the same dis­trict," he said.

The process of award­ing com­pen­sa­tion of Rs 2.25 lakh to the kin of the victims has been ini­ti­ated. A case of ac­ci­den­tal death has been reg­is­tered by po­lice in each of the in­ci­dents and fur­ther probe is on, the DCF said.

"Peo­ple re­sid­ing in the East Di­vi­sion of Gir forests have been is­sued warn­ings of pos­si­ble big cat at­tacks from time to time. But they don't fol­low in­struc­tions, caus­ing such tragedies to re­cur," Karup­pasamy said.

Lo­cals as well as lead­ers of Am­reli have been de­mand­ing ac­tion against man- eater li­ons for quite some time.

In the wake of ris­ing in­ci­dence of the at­tacks, BJP leader from Am­reli, Dileep Sang­hani, has writ­ten to the state for­est and en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Man­gub­hai Pa­tel, seek­ing killing of li­ons that at­tack hu­mans out­side the re­served for­est area.

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.

Gir is home to more than 523 Asi­atic Li­ons

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