October 4, 2018 4:48:17 am
The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday asked the state government to “end the problem” of electrocution, open wells and vehicular traffic that cause lion deaths in Gir forests.
While hearing a suo moto PIL, the court said that the forest officers should set a target to wrap up the work required to protect the animals in a definite time frame. Taking suo motu cognizance of the death of lions due to electrocution, open wells and traffic, the court had in May this year issued notices to the state and central governments.
According to state government’s submission, 184 lion deaths were reported in 2016 (104) and 2017 (80). Out of them, 19 deaths were reported in captivity (Sakarbaug Zoological Park, Barda/Rampara Gene Pool) and 165 deaths from wild areas.
The government stated that in the past two years, nine lions died in open wells, three were killed by electrocution, two by poisoning, two in rail accidents, two in road accidents, one in trapping and two drowned in sea tide.
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At that time, the government had claimed that about 30,000 open wells in Gir forest have been covered by constructing parapet wall. Similarly, it had said that on 260.7 km-long railway track between Pipavav port to Surendranagar that passes through the Gir forest, the government has decided to erect chain-link fencing on both sides of the track, and 81.06-km track has already been covered.
On Wednesday, the state government reiterated it, but the court said that it has to be finished in a definite time frame.
During the hearing, the issue of recent deaths of lions in the Gir forest also came up. The government stated that post-mortem reports suggested that deaths were caused due to “respiratory and hepatic failure and sometime because of infighting and injuries caused by it”. It also submitted that report suggested that the dead lions were suffering from viral diseases which were found in four of them.
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