Other States

313 lions died in Gir in two years

Lions are now spread in around ten districts.   | Photo Credit: AFP

In Gujarat’s Gir forest and the adjoining lions’ habitat, a total of 313 lions, including 152 cubs, have died in two years — 2019 and 2020 — with 23 of the fatalities being from unnatural causes, State Forest Minister Ganpat Vasava said in the Assembly on Friday.

Replying to a query by Congress MLA Virji Thummar, the Minister said 154 deaths took place in 2019 and 159 in 2020, and these comprise 90 lionesses, 71 lions and 152 cubs.

“Of the 313 deaths, 23 were due to unnatural causes like falling in open wells or getting hit by vehicles,” he said.

The Minister promised action after Mr. Thummar claimed some lions were getting infected with viruses from meat fed to them by the Forest Department.

Mr. Vasava said parapet walls had been built around 43,000 wells near the Gir Sanctuary to ensure the big cats did not fall into them, adding that several such conservation efforts had led to the lion population rising 29% from 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2020.

The Minister informed the House that the Centre had given ₹108 crore in the last two years for conservation and development activities in the Gir forest region.

As the population increased, so did their habitat as lions are now spread in around ten districts, including Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar, Dwarka, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Amreli, Botad and Jamnagar in the Saurashtra region.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 10:26:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/313-lions-died-in-gir-in-two-years/article34000415.ece

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