33 lions died in Gir Sanctury in two years

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Gandhinagar, Mar 14 (UNI) Gujarat Forest Minister Mangubhai Patel today informed the Gujarat Assembly that at least 33 lions have lost their lives in the Gir Sanctury in the last two years.

Mr Patel also disclosed to the House that in total 18 wild cats were killed in various incidents in 2007.

The Minister said the forest officials have filed cases against poachers for killing wild cats, and 49 people have been arrested in this connection.

Quoting the Census of 2005, Mr Patel said the population of lions was 369 and 32 more were added by successful mating in the last two years.

Mr Patel informed the House that to prevent poaching of lions in Gir Sanctury, the Forest Department has appointed more young tribals as ''Van Mitras'' (Forest Friends) and their stipend has also been raised considerably. Besides, the area of Gir Sanctury has been increased by nearly another 18,000 hectare.

He also stated that over 250 incidents of attack on humans by the wild cats have been recorded by the Forest Officials in last 2 years.

The victims were also compensated by the department according to the severity of injuries or death caused in the incidents, Mr Patel added.

UNI MP DB RL HT1922

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