Tuesday, March 26, 2013

92 lions died in last two years

92 lions died in last two years
TImes of India

A total of 92 lions have died in the last two years in Saurashtra region. Of these, 83 died natural death while the remaining nine died of accidental causes, like falling into open wells.

Minister of state for forest and environment Govind Patel told the House in a written reply to Lathi MLA Bhavku Unghad's question. The government said that 46 lions each died in the year 2011 and 2012. The minister said that among the dead big cats were 43 cubs, 20 males, while the rest were females.

The minister said that there was no incident of poaching in the any part of the state. He added that in 2011 five lions lost like in different kinds of accidents, while the number was four in 2012.

The death of 46 animals was normal as only 11 per cent of the animals are dying annually. The officer said that also there was a drop over the past few years in the number of accidental deaths. The forest department has begun a drive to cover up wells in and around Gir forest. However, such incidents of death due to falling in a well were reported in the areas far away from the sanctuary.

The official added that if one looked at the figure more cubs have died recently. A study by Dr V Meena of the Wildlife Institute of India titled "Reproductive Strategy and Behaviour of Male Asiatic Lions" revealed that survival rate of cubs was lowest in the first year of birth and gradually increases in second and third year, he added.

Infanticide claims 60 per cent of the cubs, abandonment (13 per cent) and other natural causes account for another 26 per cent. Early mortality of cubs due to infanticide was the chief factor limiting their survival, the study had revealed.

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