Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ailing Asiatic lion ‘paraded’ in Amreli town

Ailing Asiatic lion 'paraded' in Amreli town
Indian Express

An ailing Asiatic lion, which was carried by forest officials in a cage in an open vehicle through Rajula town in Amreli district on Sunday, drew howls of cheers from the locals but has enraged wildlife activists who say the officials responsible for making it an spectacle should be punished.

Forest officials, however, said they were just carrying the ailing wild cat to medical care centre for advance treatment.

"The lion, which was captured from Chatra village around 4 am on Sunday, was kept in an open cage and paraded through streets of Rajula by forest officials for hours," said Vinu Mangan, president of Gir Nature Club at Rajula.

"The show continued for a couple of hours as crowds followed the 'procession' through the city," Mangan added.
Rajula Range Forest Officer R Mor said, "The animal was just being carried from Rajula to Jasadhar, where care centre is located. In between, we had to pass through the city. As no closed vehicle was available, we had to carry the cage on a utility vehicle."

Forest officials admitted that a large number of people had gathered at their office to see the lion kept in a cage outside and they had to call the police.

Mor said the eight-year-old lion has developed infection.

Wildlife activists, however, have written to the state's Forest Minister Mangubhai Patel, demanding action against guilty officials.

"They deliberately made a show of the ailing lion.

It is cruelty against the animal. I have written to the forest minister," said Bhiku Jethava, head of Gir Nature Club, a voluntarily organisation that has been working for protection of Asiatic Lions in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary.

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