Gujarat lost 222 lions in the past two years: Govt
Gujarat lost 222 lions in the past two years, the government told the Assembly on Tuesday. Of these, 34 deaths were unnatural. The government has booked 74 people for illegal lion shows in Gir Sanctuary, home to Asiatic lions. As per the last census, Gujarat had 523 lions.
Among the total deaths, 82 were reported in 2017-18, while the rest were in the next year. Of the unnatural deaths, 11 were reported between June 2018 and May 2019. The rest were in the previous year during the same time period.
In a span of a fortnight, 23 lions had died in 2018 after the spread of canine distemper virus and protozoal infection in Gir. Although officially the government had said that only 11 of the 23 deaths were due to CDV. The outbreak had also forced the department to round up 36 lions in and around the area as a matter of precaution. It also imported 300 shots of vaccine from the US as a precautionary measure.
The state in reply to a question by Shailesh Parmar said that it was taking a series of steps to reduce the number of unnatural death of lions. "A veterinary officer has been appointed to treat the injured or ill lions on an urgent basis. A team of volunteers have also been set up to keep an eye on lions in areas where they are likely to stray onto railway tracks running in and around sanctuary area," the state said.
The government also said speed breakers have been put up on roads that run close to sanctuary area or those places frequented by lions. To avoid the death of lions due to falling in the forest department has been helping farmers build a parapet around reopen wells. A vaccination camp for domestic animals is also regularly carried out to prevent the spread of disease from them to the wild animals.