A male Asiatic lion reportedly fell into an open well in Amrapur village, some 85 kilometres west of Junagadh city, in Maliya Hatina taluka of the district early on Monday. However, the big cat was successfully rescued by forest department within hours and sent to animal care centre in Sasan Gir.
The incident came to light after residents of Amrapur informed forest officers that the lion, around seven to eight years in age, had fallen in the open well located on a farm of Badhabhai Rabari. Soon, a rescue team reached the spot and lowered a charpoy (bed) in the 60-feet deep well which was filled with water.
“After it jumped on the bed again, we tranquilised the lion and pulled it out of the well. It was in good health despite the fall. But we have sent it to animal care centre in Sasan-Gir as a precautionary measure. It will be kept under observation there for some time before we release it in the wild,” Ramesh Katara, deputy conservator of forest (social forestry) of Junagadh district told The Indian Express.
Katara further said that the lion had fallen in the well accidentally on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday. “There was no parapet on the edges of the well and the lion fell into it in the dark of the night,” said the DCF.
Incidentally, forest department has helped farmers in the areas where lions roam, build protective parapets round their wells to help prevent deaths of lions. Asiatic Lion is a Schedule-I animal which enjoys highest protection under Indian wildlife laws. The DCF said that they had instructed Rabari to build such parapet after the incident.
The incident took place at Maliya Hatina taluka where 15 lions divided in three prides have settled permanently, forest officers said. The only wild population in the world of this endangered species is surviving in Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary spread across Junagadh, Gir Somnath and Amreli districts. A few prides have settled in protected and revenue areas of Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts also.
According to 2010 census, there were 411 lions living in these four districts in Saurashtra region of Gujarat state.