Days after forest officials encaged 13 lions of a pride in Amerli over suspicion of being maneaters, a 70-year-old woman was reportedly mauled to death by a lioness at Vadnagar village in Kodinar taluka of neighbouring Gir Somnath district on Thursday evening.
This is the second such incident over a week and the fourth in the past three months in Gir region. Valai Lakhnotra was cutting grass on the dike of an agricultural field when the lioness suddenly emerged from a nearby sugarcane farm, pounced and dragged her away. Later, her partially-eaten body was found from the sugarcane farm.
“As people raised alarm, the lioness retreated. But by that time, the big cat had killed the woman and partially eaten her chest and back,” Oghad Dodiya, range forest officer of Jamwala, told The Indian Express over phone.
“Our staff is on the spot and they have located the lioness. Efforts are on to rescue the animal. Prima facie, the lioness killed the woman,” the RFO further said.
Jamwala range is part of Gir West division. The incident happened a week after a 14-year-old boy was allegedly attacked and killed by a pride at Ambardi village in Dhari taluka of Amreli district (Gir East division) last Friday.
According to wildlife experts, unless disturbed, Asiatic lions rarely attack humans and incidents of them eating human flesh are even rarer. However, in view of the recent incidents, locals and politicians have mounted pressure on forest officials to act against lions that attack humans.
After the teenager’s death, Gir forest officials have encaged 13 lions of a pride and their scat or excreta have been sent for analysis.
Gir forest and other protected areas are the only natural habitat of Asiatic lions in the world. Lions have now settled in Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Saurashtra region of Gujarat. According to the 2015 census, there are 523 lions in the region.