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2 involved in harassment of lion in Gir in viral video arrested

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Two people, including a minor, were arrested for allegedly harassing two lions in Gir forest. Media reports said the two had chased the lions on a motorcycle.

The two who were arrested on Wednesday were seen in a viral video on social media platforms that showed two lions being chased on a motorcycle by unidentified men.

The men then scared them away by accelerating the vehicle and honking.

“An investigation was launched into the video, which revealed that it was shot near Gadhiya village in Tulsishyam range of Gir East forest division of Gujarat by two locals. One of them was identified as Yunis Pathan, and another a minor,” Chief Conservation of Forests(Wildlife), Junagadh, D T Vasavada was quoted by the media as saying.

How the Gir lion video was shot

The officer said the two had come across two Asiatic lions while they were on their way to someplace. They chased the felines away by honking and creating loud sounds through the vehicle, he said.

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They also shot a video of the chase on a mobile phone which they uploaded on social media sites later.

Pathan hails from Sarasiya village in the same locality. The two were booked under the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act and were produced before a local court on Friday. They were sent to judicial custody.

Officials are yet to decide on the action against the minor.

Harassment or teasing of lions is viewed as a serious offense with a provision for jail term ranging from three years to seven years and a Rs 25,000 penalty.

The forest department has arrested several people for similar offenses in the past. It is difficult to get bail in such cases, officials warned.

 

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