Amreli floods kill 5 Asiatic lions, 100 blue bulls
The Indian Express
Forest officials rescue lioness from temple.
Flash floods following extremely heavy rain in Amreli and Bhavnagar districts on Wednesday seems to have taken its toll on wild animals also as four more carcasses of Asiatic lions were recovered from bank of Shetrunji river in Amreli and Bhavnagar districts on Friday, taking the death toll of the big cats to five. More than 100 carcasses of blue bulls have also been recovered in last two days.
Carcass of a lion was recovered from near Garajiya and Dayal villages, some six kilometres downstream Shetrunji dam in Palitana taluka of Bhavnagar around 3 pm. Later in the evening, a carcass of a lioness was also recovered from the same area.
"We believe the two lions were washed away in Shetrunji river floods. They could be animal from Amreli or Bhavnagar. We believe they were swayed in the swelling Shetrunji river and came to Shetrunji dam before going down with overflowing water from the dam and being washed ashore," deputy conservator of forests (DCF) of Bhavnagar, Ganga Sharan Singh told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, carcass of yet another lion and a lion cub were recovered from Gagadiya area in Liliya taluka of Amreli. This comes a day after carcass of a lioness was found from Bovadi village, also in Liliya taluka on Thursday evening.
On the other hand, a lion which had taken shelter in a temple in Ingorala village of Amreli was rescued late Thursday evening. "The lion was visibly weak after struggling its way out of floods. We rescued him by tranquilising him and released at a safe location late in the night," CB Dhandhiya, assistant conservator of forests (ACF) of Amreli said.
Asiatic lion is an endangered species and its only wild population in the world is surviving in Junagadh, Gir-Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts in Saurashtra region of Gujarat. A census conducted in May this year had estimated population of Asiatic lions to be 523.
The floods have also killed scores of other wild animals. DCF Singh said that they have recovered around 100 carcasses of blue bulls, four spotted deer and one each of wild boar and porcupine. ACF Dhandhiya said eight carcasses of blue bulls have been recovered from Shetrunji banks in Amreli and Liliya taluka.
"We are burying the carcasses on priority basis to prevent spread of disease. We have also sent 15 teams of forest guards to scan areas where Shetrunji flows to locate any other carcasses," he added.
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