In a breathtaking operation, the Forest Department rescued four Asiatic lions who had fallen into a 100-foot deep dry well, at Manavav village in Sarasiya range of Gir (east) forest division, in Amreli district on Sunday.
Sarpanch of Manavav village, Dilubhai alerted the Forest Department around 7:30 pm on Saturday, informing them that four lions had fallen into an abandoned well on his mango orchard. Soon, Sarasiya Range Forest Officer (RFO) M R Odedra and other staff members, who were out patrolling, reached the spot and launched an operation to rescue the big cats.
Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) of Junagadh Wildlife Circle, Dushyant Vasavada, said that the four sub-adult lions — aged between two and three years — were rescued by early Sunday morning. “It was an open and abandoned well without any water. However, the lions did not suffer any major injuries. Our staff rescued them in a short period of time and gave them treatment on the spot. The lions were later shifted to a facility for keeping them under observation,” Vasavada told The Indian Express.
The CCF added that the lions were taken to the Jasadhar Rescue Centre and that they would be kept under observation for a couple of days. “We shall release them back into the wild once it is confirmed that they are fit,” he said.
Of the four which had fallen into the well, three were sub-adult lions and one was a lioness.
“Dilubhai was doing a routine inspection of his mango orchard when he spotted a lioness in the orchard. At the same time, he also heard lion roars coming from some depth. He suspected that the sound could be coming from the well on his orchard and alerted us,” RFO Odedra said.
Manavav village is located on the edge of the Ambardi reserve forest in Sarasiya range of Gir forest division. It is home to a few dozen Asiatic lions. Ambardi safari park is also located in the same forest. Forest officers said that being animals of the cat family, Asiatic lions can survive such falls without major injuries.
As part of its lions’ conservation efforts, the Forest Departme-nt provides grants to farmers to cover their open farm wells on the periphery of the lion habitats, so that the big cats don’t fall into them accidentally. “However, this well was not covered as it was not in use,” the CCF added.
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