In an unfortunate incident, an Asiatic lion lost his life after being run over by a goods train in Gujarat’s Amreli district. The information about the incident was revealed by the chief conservator of forests (Junagadh wildlife circle) Dushyant Vasavada on Sunday.
According to Vasavada, the incident took place at around 9.30 pm on Saturday in Gir (East) forest division under Savarkundla forest range near Khadkala village. The official said that the carcass of a male lion, aged around 5-6 years, was found on a railway track.
Collision with a double-decker goods train was the possible cause of the death, Vasavada added. Forest officials reached the spot and sent the carcass for an autopsy, he added.
313 Asiatic lions died in two years in Gujarat
Earlier in March, state forest minister Ganpat Vasava informed the Gujarat Legislative Assembly that a total of 313 lions died in the state in 2019 and 2020. He had also revealed that 23 fatalities were due to unnatural causes. The unnatural causes included dying after falling into an open well, getting run over by vehicles or trains, or electrocution, Vasava had said.
The government was making efforts to mitigate lion deaths due to unnatural causes, the minister had said. The Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, part of the forest spread across several Gujarat districts, is the last abode of Asiatic lions in the world. The Gujarat High Court too had raised the issue of lion deaths in and around Gir and directed the state government to take a host of steps to curb the states.
In April, the oldest Asiatic lion of Gir forest, Dheer, had died. He was 22-years-old and passed away in Sakkarbagh Zoo of Junagadh. Before Dheer, no other lion in Gir had lived more than 20 years. Generally, Asiatic lions have a life span of 15 to 17 years. But, in Gir forest, some lions have survived for more than 18 years.
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