Gujarat High Court seeks details of deaths of lions at Gir
The Gujarat High Court has expressed serious concern about the condition of lions in Gir, where 23 lions recently succumbed to a viral infection.
The deaths prompted the State government to isolate 36 wild cats and vaccinate them to prevent the spread of canine distemper virus (CDV).
On Monday, the court asked Hemang Shah, amicus curiae, to get details on the condition of the lions and apprise the court on October 17, when it will take up the matter for further hearing.
Earlier this year, the High Court bench of Chief Justice R.S. Reddy and Justice V.M. Pancholi appointed lawyer Hemang Shah as amicus curiae after the court took suo motu cognisance of the deaths of lions in Gir.
The court also asked State authorities and the central government to explain as to why there was a huge difference in the resources spent on the conservation of lions and tigers. The court sought to know as to why there was a conservation budget of ₹15 lakh per tiger, while only ₹95,000 had been allocated for each lion.
During the hearing on Monday, the state government's lawyers have brought the court's attention on several emergency measures taken by the authorities after the outbreak of viral disease was reported from Dalkhania range of Gir forest.
The government lawyers also contended that 36 lions quarantined after the outbreak have been vaccinated and have not developed any symptoms of the disease.
Separately, the carcass of a sub-adult lion was found near Visavadar on Monday. According to the State's forest department, while the exact cause of death could be determined only after the post mortem was completed, prima facie the lion appeared to have died of natural causes.