Monday, April 14, 2014

Finally, missing lion cubs rescued in Amreli

Finally, missing lion cubs rescued in Amreli
Times of India

Forest department teams in Amreli have heaved a sigh of relief after they finally succeeded in capturing the two cubs of a lioness, which had killed a farm labourer near Rajula town on March 31.

The lioness of captured on April 6 but there was no sight of the cubs, raising heckles of the forest officials. However, a team of trackers and rescue workers, spotted the cubs near Dhareshwar village near Rajula and found the cubs. In a rare instance, the captured lioness had to be re-released into the forest so that she could find her cubs. The lioness and both cubs were caged and taken to Sasan animal care centre.

The search and rescue operation concluded at around 3am on Thursday.

The lioness, which was reportedly harassed by villagers, had killed labourer Deepak Babariya and injured another in Agariya village near Rajula on March 31.

"It was a major rescue operation operation as we had to cage the lioness and the cubs in a revenue area (out of forest land). It required a lot of patience. But we finally succeeded," said a senior forest official.

"It was a difficult task to cage lion cubs in absence of their mother and we were worried about their survival as they can't prey by themselves," said an official.

Sandeep Kumar, deputy conservator of forests, Gir National Park and Sanctuary (Sasan), said the lioness is around 6 to 9 years old and both cubs are about five months old. "They have been brought to animal care centre in Sasan and would be kept under observation,'' said Kumar, who was present during the entire operation.

As per rules, any lion or lioness which kills humans is caged and sent permanently in captivity.

"We will observe the behavior of the lioness and her two cubs for some days. The forest department will take a call if the two lion cubs can be released into the wild or not,'' said a forest official.

There, over 60 lions in Rajula-Jafarabad coastal belt in Amreli and settled into revenue area outside the forest land.
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