Eight cows were mowed down by a train while they were being chased by a pride of lions near Loka village,around 30 km east of Amreli,late Sunday night. The incident took place after two lionesses and a lion raided an enclosure of 36 cows near Nana Liliya village in Liliya taluka of Amreli at around 10 pm.
Lions killed two cows in the enclosures of Atabhai Zafda and Mepabhai Arjanbhai Bharwad. As lions attacked the herd,the cows in the enclosures ran away, Jitendra Makwana,district forest officer (social forestry) of Amreli,told The Indian Express over phone on Monday.
While one cow was killed inside the enclosure,the male lion gave chase to the terrified cows and killed one more. However,the other cows kept on running and reached Loka village. As they were running along a railway track,a goods train hit them,killing eight of them on the spot, Bharat Rathod,a forester of Liliya range,said.
After the train carnage,the rest of the cows were further terrified and kept on running. While 20 cows returned to Nana Liliya later,six of them remained missing till Monday evening. Forest officers said while Bharwad was a resident of Nana Liliya,Zafda hailed from Bhad Vankia village of Khambha taluka,some 40 km from Liliya,in Amreli. Zafda had 16 cows and had come to his relative Bharwads place in Nana Liliya a couple of days ago in search of fodder for his cattle. Sources said while all 20 cows belonging to Bharwad had come back,those of Zafdas were missing since they were new to the area.
Forest officers further said that the two maldharis (tribal herdsmen) would get compensation only for the two cows killed by the big cats.
The second incident was an accident and we do not have anything to do with it, the DFO said. The goods train was reportedly going towards Surendranagar from Pipavav port in Amreli. Found only in Gir forests and adjoining areas,a few Asiatic lions had migrated to Liliya taluka around a decade ago. Presently,their number in gauchar (grazing),revenue and wasteland of Liliya is stated to have gone up to 39.