Lion falls from the bridge, dies
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik
In a first incident of its kind, a lion died late on Monday night after it fell into the Hiran river while crossing a bridge constructed over the river that flows through the Gir sanctuary.
Investigations by forest officials have revealed that the incident took place when the lion may have got startled and jumped into the river seeing a vehicle approach from the opposite side.
According to the deputy conservator of forest, Amit Kumar, the incident took place late in the night on Monday. "Water was being released in the Hiran river and hence the lions were using the bridge to cross the river," he said.
He added that the this bridge connects Talala and Sasan and has heavy traffic passing over it even at night. He said that according to the pug marks which were found on the bridge, it was deduced that the lion was on the right side of the bridge, while the vehicle was coming from the left side. Seeing the head lights of the vehicle, the lion got startled and started moving towards the left.
Having spotted the lion, the driver made an attempt to save it and also moved towards the right. Finally, the startled lion jumped off the bridge and died by drowning.
Amit Kumar said that there were no reports that the lion was being chased. He said that usually when there is water in the river, the animals usually use the bridge to cross the water body. He further said that the postmortem has revealed that the lion had no injuries on its body to indicate it was hit by moving vehicles.
Officials in the forest department said this was the first incident of its kind where a lion died in a road accident.
In the past, seeing a lion sitting on the road, drivers would stop on one side, closing the headlight for the animal to pass through, but in this incident it appears that the driver went ahead and even increased the light to see the animal. He said that there are reports also that the driver might have honked, startling the lion.
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