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Sunday, Nov 27, 2022

Gir Somnath: Lion spotted on roof of farmer’s house

The incident happened between 9 pm and 10 pm Friday. “I was shocked and worried. I have two daughters—Riya (6) and Himani (3) and elderly parents. The lion was staring at us and our cattle simultaneously and we had nowhere to hide,” Lalji told The Indian Express.

The sub-adult male lion was part of a pride of around 10 members whose movement was recorded in the area.

Farmer Lalji Mesiya and his family members—including two children and two elderlies—were fast asleep in the faliyu (front yard) of their kaccha home Friday night when they were disturbed by rustling on the terracotta-tiled roof of their house in Fatsar village in Gir Somnath district. As the tiles kept clanging and shifting, as if someone was walking on the tiled-roof, 48-year-old Mesiya came out of his house and flashed a torchlight. He was shocked by what he saw—a lion crawling on the top of the roof.

The incident happened between 9 pm and 10 pm Friday. “I was shocked and worried. I have two daughters—Riya (6) and Himani (3) and elderly parents. The lion was staring at us and our cattle simultaneously and we had nowhere to hide,” Lalji told The Indian Express.

Fortunately for the Mesiyas, the villagers soon gathered at his home and supported them, protecting a cow and a buffalo and their calves. “We kept flashing torches at the lion but it refused to climb down the roof. Meanwhile, staff from the forest department arrived and shooed away the lion towards the jungle,” Mesiya said, adding, “Apparently, three lions had climbed on the roof of our home while trying to avoid people who had gathered in an open plot behind our home. While two of them climbed down after seeing us, the third one didn’t budge and occupied the roof for about an hour.”

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Fatsar is a village in Gir Gadhada taluka. The village, located on the border of Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (GNPWLS)—the last abode of the Gir lions in the world, falls in the Jasadhar range of Gir (east) wildlife division. “It was a male lion, around two years in age. However, our staff reached the village immediately after being informed  about the incident and shooed away the animal to the forest,” Rajdeepsinh Jhala, deputy conservator of forests (DCF), Gir (east) division, said.

The sub-adult male lion was part of a pride of around 10 members whose movement was recorded in the area. The videos of the incident have since gone viral on social media.

“Mesiya’s home is located in the High School area on the border of the village and there is an open plot behind their house. Apparently, the lions came from that direction. But lions are not a new thing in our village. Therefore, we could handle the situation until the forest department staff reached the spot,” Kanubhai Jasani, husband of Fatsar village sarpanch Gulab Jasani, said.

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Jasadhar range forest officer Lakha Bharwad said that his staff handled the situation deftly. “Our staff persuaded people to disperse and not to flash their torches in the lion’s direction,” said Bharwad.

First published on: 30-05-2022 at 04:16:55 am
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