Gujarat: Three lions rescued close to Rajkot metropolis; transported to Gir


Ahmedabad, January 13

A pride of three Asiatic lions that had strayed out of its natural habitat at Gujarat’s Gir forest and reached near Rajkot city, was rescued and relocated on Wednesday, an official from the forest department said.

The three lions had travelled more than 100 km from Gir forest to reach Rajkot taluka and had been camping in the surrounding areas over the last one month, said Dushyant Vasavada, chief conservator of forests (Wildlife), Junagadh.

The animals were rescued by a forest team and shifted to Gir, where they will be released in the wild soon, the official said.

During their stint in Rajkot for over a month, the lions were spotted in different villages close to human settlements, some not very far from the city, causing panic, he said.

The pride reached very close to Rajkot city and was recently spotted near Aji Dam on the outskirts, he said.

According to local forest officials, the lions were first spotted in villages of Jasdan taluka in the district and were also seen in villages of Rajkot taluka, where they preyed upon cattle.

A rescue team with the experience of handling lions was called in from Gir and the lions were captured in separate cages on Wednesday morning and taken to the forest, Vasavada said.

One of the lions had a radio collar on, which helped the forest department to keep an eye on the pride, he said.

As per the latest census conducted last year, Gujarat has witnessed a 29 per cent rise in the population of Asiatic lions.

The “Poonam Avlokan (full-moon night estimation exercise)” carried out in June last year showed that the Asiatic lion population reached 674. — PTI



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