May 8, 2021 12:21:57 pm
A PRIMUS STOVE repairer-cum-bangles seller was mauled to death by an Asiatic lion after he tried to save his goat from the carnivore in Madhupur village in Talala taluka of Gir Somnath district early on Saturday morning. The area falls in Talala range of Gir (west) wildlife division, among the prime habitats of Asiatic lions and forest officers said the big cat was caged from the spot within a few hours.
Bahadur Dabhi, a stove repairer-cum-bengles seller was attacked by a male Asiatic lion after he intervened when the carnivore pounced on his goat outside his hut in Madhuvpur village on Madhupur-Dhava road at around 1 AM on Saturday, Dushyant Vasavada, chief conservator of forests (CCF) of Junagadh wildlife circle said. Vasavada said that the 35-year-old tried to save his goat but the lion mauled him to death along with his goat and dragged his body to a nearby mango orchard owned by one Bhupat Gadhesaria.
The CCF said that forest staff reached the spot and caged the lion within a few hours. “The man apparently tried to rescue his goat but the lion turned to him and killed him also and dragged his body away. When we reached the spot after being alerted by the family that Dabhi was missing, we found him lying dead in a mango orchard around 200 metres away from his hut. Around 20 metres away from his body, we also spotted the male lion eating the goat,” Bimalkumar Bhatt, range forest officer (RFO) of Talala, said.
Forest officers said that Dabhi was leading a nomadic life, selling bangles and repairing primus stoves.
The RFO said Dabhi’s neck and belly had marks of deep injuries caused by canine teeth of lions and that he died on the spot. “The lion, which seemed to be around five years old and prima facie a lone ranger, had become aggressive and didn’t enter a trap cage we had mobilised. Eventually, veterinarians tranquilised it and shifted it to Lion Hospital in Junagadh,” Bhatt, said adding, “The lion killed the man but didn’t eat it.”
He further said that no other lion was located in the vicinity of the place of the incident, suggesting it was a lone-ranging male.
Incidentally, Bhavna Bamaniya, a 17-year-old farm labourer from Dahod district was killed after being attacked by two sub-adult male Asiatic lions on an agricultural field in Dhanfuliya village of neighbouring Junagadh district in December last year.
Forest officers say that Asiatic lions generally never attack humans unless teased or harassed. Attacks by lions on humans in and around Gir forest, the last abode in the world of Asiatic lions, are very rare. According to Gujarat forest department, there are 674 Asiatic lions in the wilderness spread across Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts in Saurashtra region of Gujarat.
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