Monday, January 26, 2009

Lions attack for 4th time at Gir

Lions attack for 4th time at Gir
Times of India

Rajkot : The lion king is angry. His fight for space and food is taking its toll on humans. Until now, the Gir forest and its surrounding region was being hailed as one place where man and lion had leant to live together with very few years. In the past week, this balance has been disturbed.

An usual spurt in attacks-four in the past eight days –on humans in and around Gir sanctuary has left experts concerned. In the latest incident on Friday, a pride of five lions attacked cattle and humans at three separate places.

First, the pride killed cattle in Bharwadas in Akada village at 6 : 30 am before being chased away by villagers. Two hours later, one lion from the pride pounced on Bhagwanji Vanparia, a 48-year old former sarpanch of the village. At around 10:30 am, lions attacked Rekha Sarviya and her eight-year-old son Rahul near Chokli village along Junagadh –Bhesan highway. They were saved by laborers who were passing by.

Observers say this is a second multiple attack in a span of a few hours in the past two years. "We don't feel animals have behaved abnormally. Humans should exercise more restraint. Lions venturing out of the sanctuary is normal, and it happens only once in a while," says Mm Sharma, conservator of forests, Junagadh. In all the attacks over the past one week, humans have intruded into lion territory.

Regarding Friday's attack, senior forest official said villagers chasing away lions and preventing them from feasting on their prey agitated the beasts and could have led to more attacks.

About 15 months ago, a similar multiple attack had occurred on the outskirts of Dervan and Vadal villages near Junagadh forest range. Officials estimate the number of lions in Junagadh forest range at 18, but the unofficial count is close to 30.

Jan 16 : Lion kills Mukesh Parmar, 35, after he gets close to a mating pair at Babara-Virdi.
Jan 18 : Shepherd Chheda Devayat,25, has a close shave after being attacked by a lion at Dhari-Tulsishyam range of Gir forest.
Jan 20 : A lion attacks a 13-year-old boy sleeping in the fields in Morvel village of Dhari taluka.

• Bhagvanji Vanparia was attacked by lion on Friday.

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