The sudden death of 21 lions since September 12 in the Gir sanctuary in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat has caused anxiety to forest department officials.
All the dead lions were found mainly from Dalkhaniya range. According to reports, 11 lions died in the first 10 days – eight lions died owing to infections, one due to food poisoning and three due to infighting. After which the government has ordered an enquiry into the incident.
However, the death toll continues to rise. According to the state forest department, 11 lions died between September 12 to 19 in Gir’s Dalkhania and Jasadhar range. Out those 11 deaths, carcass of seven lions were found in the forest areas while four lions died during treatment.
As a precautionary measure by forest department , 31 lions from Semardi forest area adjoining the Sarasiya Vidi had been rescued and shifted to Jamwala Rescue Centre for keeping them under observation.
“The government officials investigating the matter are yet to identify the ‘virus’ that may have resulted in the death of these lions. We have sent samples to NIV, IVRI (Indian Veterinary Research Institute), Bareilly, Forensic Science Laboratory, Junagadh etc and are trying to ascertain the exact cause.” said Principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) and head of forest force of Gujarat.