Monday, April 25, 2011

Lion Carcass Found in Bhavnagar District; Cause of Death a Mystery

A young Asiatic lion

Recently, a carcass of an Asiatic lion was found mutilated in the coastal areas of the Talaja range in Bhavnagar District. It was reportedly discovered by a team of forest officials in the outskirts of a village. To wildlife activists and some sources, the death of this lion was suspected to be of poaching, but forest officials say that it is too early to make any conclusion. They, on the other hand, suspect the incident was a result of man-animal conflict where the lion was may have died of shock received from an electric fence put up to guard crops from wild animals. However, these fences are now illegal. Instead, the carcass is thought to be of a five or seven-year-old lion which could have died four-five days ago. According to wildlife warden in-charge and additional principal chief conservator of forests H.S Singh, the carcass was eaten away by hyenas which made it difficult determine the actual cause of death. He also pointed out that the bones were intact which might indicate that this was not a case of poaching. However, he further added that he and his team are still determining other vital body parts which may lead them to conclusions. In other words, the investigation is still on.

I'm very surprised and shocked at the death of this lion. At the same time, I'm perplexed because no one really knows what may have caused the death of this creature. In this article, all I saw were hypotheses on the lion's death. Some sources claim it was because of poaching, while forest officials suspect it to be the case of man-animal conflict where the lion died as a result of shock from an electric fence. Mr. Singh further added to this theory that the local villagers may have thrown the carcass away and did not inform the officials since electric fences are illegal. Whatever the cause, I feel that this lion's death is a sign of danger in obstacles the lion population is facing in Gujarat. These animals have been spotted roaming freely outside their home in Gir Forest in recent times. It is estimated that as many as 53 lions have made their way up to the areas of Savarkundla, Amreli, and Bhavnagar. With lions spreading beyond the borders of Gir Forest, I feel that locals should take extra precautions with the help of forest officials and collaborate with them in an effort to prevent any poaching activities. The reason is these lions are not just moving out of Gir Forest due to lack of space, but because the surrounding areas were their ancestral homes during the 19th century and are now recolonizing those areas where they once roamed for generations.

View article here

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