5 Asiatic lions dead, several missing post flash floods in Saurashtra
The Hindu Business Line
Search teams formed to locate and rescue lions in worst-affected Amreli district
AHMEDABAD/AMRELI: JUNE 27 :
Flash floods caused by the heavy rains in the Amreli district of Saurashtra region early this week has claimed lives of five Asiatic lions while at least 35 are reported missing.
Among the five, the bodies of three lions, including a female cub, were found in Amreli district, the worst-affected district with 816 mm rainfall in three days as against the normal of around 600 mm. The bodies of two other lions were recovered from Bhavnagar district.
As per the recent Lion Census conducted by state forest department, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts put together were reported to have lion population of over 200. But the Kankrach region of Liliya taluka was home to about 40 lions.
According to senior forest officials, at least 35 lions apart from the dead are believed to be missing. The forest department has deployed 15 teams of forest guards along with social forestry teams to locate any more carcasses of lions and other animals and rescue those injured.
The Kankrech area, which creates a bowl, faced fury of flash floods after the flooding in Shetrunji river.
Forest department sources confirmed that besides five lion bodies, at least 150 blue bulls (also called neelgai), four spotted deers (cheetals), a wild boar and a porcupine have been found so far.
In all over 1,000 carcasses of different animals were found post the floods that affected most parts of Saurashtra region including the Asiatic Lion's only habitat in the world, Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar among others. There have been no reports of death of any leopards so far.
Asiatic lion is an endangered species. A census conducted in May this year had estimated population of Asiatic lions at 523