Gir lion deaths: Ahmed Patel writes to PM says'its result of state govt's prolonged mismanagement'
New Delhi, Oct 6: Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel on Saturday has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the death of lions at Gujarat's Gir National Park.
In the letter, Patel stated, "The reasons for their deaths have not occurred overnight but are a result of the state govt's prolonged mismanagement and poor oversight."
The death of 23 Asiatic lions in their only abode in Gujarat's Gir national park since September 20, some because of the canine distemper virus (CDV), has reignited the debate over finding them a second home.
Experts say the paucity of big animals inside the park's wildlife area for the lions to prey on, their increasing dependence on domestic cattle and congestion are some reasons for the spread of CDV. The Gujarat government has confirmed that four of the lions died of CDV, whose carriers are normally feral dogs.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) on Friday said they have found that the virus which wiped out 30 per cent of total lion population in East Africa, was responsible for the death of five out of the 23 Asiatic lions in Gujarat's Gir forest since September 12.
CDV causes a highly contagious and life-threatening disease in dogs and also affects wild carnivores such as wolves, foxes, raccoons, red pandas, ferrets, hyenas, tigers, and lions. The prevalence of this virus and its diversity in wildlife of India is not studied and only a few reports are available regarding the detection of CDV in captive wild carnivores which included tigers and red panda.