Thursday, August 18, 2011

Burnt carcass was that of lion cub, says probe

Burnt carcass was that of lion cub, says probe
TImes of India

The carcass of an animal burnt last week was that of a two-month-old lion, investigations have revealed. Officials of the forest department said that the forest staff found a carcass of an animal in Gir East, in the first week of July.

Instead of bringing the carcass to the rescue centre for a post-mortem, the range forest officer J B Vadi ordered its disposal. However, remnants of hair and body parts around the site of the burning raised suspicions and an investigation was ordered. An examination by the department revealed that the animal was a lion cub. "We are waiting for the final forensic report to take action against the officials," said a senior forest officer. The officer said that Vadi might be suspended once the forensic report was received and that he had been transferred to a non-field posting in Junagadh.

The burning of the carcass was not a crime in itself, but Vadi did not follow the set procedure despite being aware of it, officials said. An official said that the only reason for disposing of the carcass could be that the death had gone unnoticed for several days. He said that Vadi may have feared that he would be asked to explain why the carcass was missed during routine rounds. He said that Vadi should have visited the spot himself but chose to stay back home and send his driver instead. Also, investigations revealed that the driver was sent only to establish that Vadi had been to the spot.

The entire episode could have gone unnoticed. But rumors that a lion cub had been burnt by forest staff after they found it poached opened the Pandora's box.

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