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Gujarat: All 36 quarantined Gir lions fit, to be back in jungle

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Ahmedabad, Feb 23: All 36 Asiatic lions of the Gir (forest) division contracted a deadly respiratory and gastrointestinal disease, the animals are now fit and ready to be released into the wild again. This will be the biggest relocations plan, with the largest number at one time was six in Sariska between 2007 and 2012.

Photo credit: PTI

The 36 lions suspected to be infected with CDV were moved to the two care centres last October following deaths of over 25 lions over a month.

The Gir lions, an endangered species were vaccinated under intensive veterinary care and as per standard protocol.

CDV is a contagious disease that affects a wide variety of animal families, including domestic and wild species of dogs, foxes, pandas, wolves, and large cats. This deadly virus, which attacks the respiratory and nervous systems of animals, had caused deaths of hundreds of lions in Africa in 1990s.

In 2016, at least four lions that died at Etawah in Uttar Pradesh were infected by the CDV, as confirmed by the Indian Veterinary Research Institute. In early 1994, CDV wiped out 30% of the total lion population in the Serengeti forest areas in East Africa.

As per the forest department's 2015 census, Gujarat was home to 523 lions - the count having almost doubled since 1990, when it was 284. The latest initial estimates put the count at over 600 lions.

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