A five-year-old lion was found dead Monday morning on state highway 96 near Vekaria village,around 50 km east of Junagadh,in Gir (West) division. However,officials ruled out any foul play.
Forest officers rushed to the spot near Visavadar after receiving reports of the lion lying dead on the roadside. The body of the big cat was later taken to Animal Rescue Centre in Sasan Gir for post-mortem. However,the autopsy could not conclusively establish the cause of the lions death,officers said.
There were no major injury marks. But there was blood in its mouth,suggesting it might have been hit by a vehicle while crossing the road, said R L Meena,chief conservator of forest (CCF),wildlife circle,Junagadh.
Prima facie,presence of urea has been detected in its body. Another suspicion is the lion might have drunk water from some field where a doze of fertiliser might have been given to crops. This might have slowed down its movement and it might have met with an accident late night or early morning, Meena added.
The CCF went on to say that samples had been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Junagadh and College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry of Junagadh Agricultural University.
The cause of its death will be ascertained only after reports from FSL and the veterinary college come, he said.
Meena ruled out foul play saying,Pugmarks of the dead lion and three
others were seen in the nearby area. The other three lions were traced out later in the day.
Officers said incidents of lions being killed in road accidents are rare even though the highway does not have speed-breakers on the stretches that pass through forest area. Forest officers said the area where the body was found was a corridor for lions living in Pania Wildlife Sanctuary and Hathalia hills.