Saturday, March 17, 2007

Lion killings: Gir security to be beefed up

Times of India Delhi – Net Edition  16-3-2007


AHMEDABAD: The killing of three lions in Gir National Park, which came to light last week, has stirred authorities into action with an overhaul of the security arrangements for the big cats being considered.


The incident, in which the bones, skulls and claws were missing from the scene of crime, was discovered on March 3 and set alarm bells ringing in the Gujarat's forest establishment.


"This is for the first time that the bones and skulls are missing from the crime scene along with claws," Junagadh Conservator of Forest Bharat Pathak said.


"Poaching has happened in past in Gir. In 2005, two lions were killed but their claws and skin went missing and bones were intact. We traced the killers, who were locals," Pathak said.


"However, this time the bones are missing along with claws while we recovered lion skins with their carcasses," he added.


The forest department suspects the hand of international gangs behind the killing of two adult and one young lioness.


It has decided to review security arrangements of the sanctuary and make necessary changes, official sources said.


The gang could be after the bones of the lions, which are used for medicinal purpose in China and can fetch thousands of dollars in the international market, officials sources said.

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