Gandhinagar: Bodies of at least 11 Asiatic lions have been found in the Gir Forest National Park of Gujarat. These bodies were found in the last 11 days.
Authorities are yet to confirm if another corpse, found in a severely decomposed state, is that of a lion. This can take the death toll to 12. The Gujarat government has ordered an investigation into the deaths of the lions.
Three bodies were found in the Dhara area in Amreli Range, while the others were found in Roniya area. Officials say that the postmortem report said that nine lions died due to lung infection (Feline Leukemia) and two due to infighting.
One carcass of a lioness was found in a forest near Rajula of Amreli district on Wednesday, while three more lions were found dead the same day in Dalkhaniya range area in the Gir forest, a senior official said. Carcasses of seven other lions were found in the last few days, he said.
“We have found carcasses of 11 lions from Gir (east) forest range,” P Purushothama, Deputy Conservator of Forest, Gir (east) told news agency PTI.
Additional chief secretary, Forest and Environment, Rajiv Kumar Gupta said the government has ordered a probe and it will be conducted by the principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife). Principal Conservator of Forest and Wildlife AK Saxena has denied any angle of foul play into the matter. He said in the last three to four years, a trend of deaths due to infighting has been noticed.
As per the 2015 census, Gir was home to 520 lions.