Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lions of Gir chase leopards from their kills

Lions of Gir chase leopards from their kills
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

The king of the jungle has turned plunderer. Lions of Gir chase leopards away from their kills. A recent incident bore testimony to this phenomenon. A lioness browbeat a leopard away from its kill of a chital and feasted on it along with her three cubs in Dedakdi area.

In this incident reported earlier this week, the lioness got attracted to the kill much after the leopard killed chital and started eating it. A beat guard who witnessed this incident said that as the smell of the flesh wafted, it drew the lioness and her cubs. Seeing the lioness approach, the leopard beat a retreat and climbed up a nearby hill.

"The lioness and the cub finished off the kill within a half-an-hour and left the area. The leopard kept staring at the remains, said Sandep Kumar, deputy conservator of forest, Sasan.

Kumar said this was not an isolated incident. "About 25-30 per cent of the kill by leopard was snatched away by the lions. A detail study about the food habits of the lions has revealed that there were more incidents of this kind this year compared to the past," he said.

Such incidents occur usually when lioness are roaming with their cubs in search of food. Those lions who are not in pride and are leading isolated lives also resort to such practice.

Leopards who lead solitary life easily fall prey to lions' plundering. However, there have been also instances of role reversal when leopards tried to steal lion's prey. But these attempts usually result in calamity. Recently, a leopard was killed by a pride of lions when it tried to steal their kill.

Foresters claim that there have also been some rarest of the rare instances where leopards have been successful in driving the lions away from their kills. Leopards generally target hyenas to snatch away their kills, said the forest officials.

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