About 20 lions were moved to safer areas after the fire broke out at Sarasiya forest in Amreli district last evening, deputy conservator of forest (DFO), T Kruppasamy said. “The fire broke out at about 7 PM on Saturday. The district collector sent fire fighters after our request and the blaze was brought under control within one hour. Our team removed the lions to safer places,” Kruppasamy told PTI.
The fire had spread over 2 km area where the wildlife has a sizeable presence, said the official. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, said the official. The fire was first noticed by the officials of forest department and police, who were engaged to remove illegal encroachments in the forest area, said the DFO.
“These officials then immediately took steps to remove atleast 20 lions from the fire affected area,” said the official. As per the census of 2015, there are a total of 523 lions in Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Gujarat.