Friday, September 22, 2006

Gir lions on the verge of extinction
Bahar Dutt CNN-IBN Posted Tuesday , January 17, 2006 at 19:03

The Asiatic lion in India is on the verge of extinction, but it's cry for attention is being ignored.

Outside Africa, India is the only place where lions exist today. Its wild cousin, the tiger, on the other hand is found almost throughout the country, numbering around 3000-5000.

In contrast there are only 300 lions left in the wild in India, all in one forest - Gir. The big cat is on the verge of extinction and is crying out for attention. CNN-IBN traveled to the last bastion of the Indian lion to find out why.

Gujarat: The country is obsessed about the survival of the Tiger, but India's other big cat – the Asiatic Lion – is in far more serious trouble.

Found only in Gujarat, the Asiatic Lion, may soon beat the tiger to extinction.
Documents in CNN-IBN's possession show that the lions of Gir are being poached for their claws.

In August 2005, two lions were killed near Patla Village, Gujarat. 15 claws were missing from their dead bodies.

In September, five claws were missing from yet another lion carcass.
Between August and December 2005, 12 Lions have died at Gir, five of them killed by poachers and each time for their claws.

Poaching Deaths in Gir
Aug 2005 2 Lions killed near Patla Village. 15 Claws missing.
Sep 2005 5 claws missing from a Lion Carcass.
Aug-Dec05 12 Lions Dead. 5 killed by Poachers.

Each claw is worth Rs 10,000. Add to this the fact that the number of lions in Gir is just 300 and that Gir is the only place in India where the Asiatic lion is found.

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