Thursday, August 07, 2008

Lion strolls through bazaar!


Lion strolls through bazaar!

Times of India


Junagadh/Amreli: The 700-odd residents of Khambha-Borada village in Amreli got the biggest shock of their quiet lives when a lion strolled into their main bazaar on Monday at 5 pm.


Living in lion country, they frequently sight the wild cats outside their village. But, a lion entering a market full of people, sent a chill down the spine of many.


Lions, having moved out of the Gir sanctuary, are getting increasingly bold, say villagers. The cats don't think twice before straying close to humans.


This was confirmed on Tuesday morning when in neighbouring Junagadh, a pride of four lions, that generally hunt after sundown, killed a buffalo in broad daylight at Chorwadi village of Bhesan taluka.


The 50-odd villagers working in the fields nearby around 9 am watched helplessly as the lions cornered the buffalo and brought it down. They did not seem bothered by the presence of villagers.


Said deputy conservator of forest (DFO), Junagadh, Anita Karne: "Generally, lions hunt late in the evenings or at night, but morning hunts happen once in a while."


A shocked Chandresh Patel, a resident of Chorwadi, said: "These lions are regular visitors but never have they had the courage to attack cattle in front of people." Khamba-Borada, however, has not yet recovered from the shock. Especially because the lion stayed in the market for nearly two hours and attacked and injured a youth who tried to chase it away. The lion left only after killing a calf and dragging it off for dinner. Says Mahesh Rawal, a resident of Khambha-Borada: "If we have to face lions at 5 pm in our bazaar, it is about time the government considered fencing the forest area."


Sanat Chavan, wildlife expert and former principal chief conservator of forest of Gujarat, says there have been some instances in the past of lions hunting in the day.


"When they don't get their natural prey, they don't mind hunting cattle in the day," he says.

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