No end to lions death in Gujarat: Two more cubs die; foresters suspect territorial fight
Ahmedabad, Mar 06: Two Asiatic lion cubs have reportedly died due to infighting in Visavadar range of Gujarat's Gir forest- the last natural abode of Asiatic lions in India.
Preliminary probe has revealed the two cubs, around five months old, may have been killed by a male lion in a territorial fight to establish dominance, said D T Vasavada, chief conservator of forests, Junagadh Wildlife Circle.
Earlier last month, two lions, a lioness and a cub were found dead in and around the Gir forest, the only abode of Asiatic lions.
As per the last census conducted in 2015, it is home to 523 lions, though a recent government announcement put the number at 600.
204 lions died in Gir in last two years
Over 200 lions died in the Gir forest region in the last two years, the Gujarat government told the legislative Assembly.
Only 27 of these deaths were because of "unnatural" causes such as getting hit by a train or falling into a well, it said.
To a query by Congress' Bhagabhai Barad, forest minister Ganpat Vasava, in a written reply, said 110 lions and 94 cubs died in 2017 and 2018.
Of the 110 adult lions, 43 died in 2017 and 67 in 2018. Thirty-eight cubs died in 2017 and 56 in 2018, the reply said.
Of the 204 deaths, 27 (21 lions and six cubs) were because of "unnatural causes" such as falling into a well or being run over by a train, the minister said.
'Asiatic Lion Conservation Project'
Meanwhile, the Gujarat government has launched the 'Asiatic Lion Conservation Project' with an aim to protect and conserve the world's last ranging free population of Asiatic Lion and its associated ecosystem.
The initiatives include building a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital in Sasan-Gir and creating a team of 120 veterinary doctors to treat lions and other wildlife.