December 16, 2021 9:52:14 pm
THE THREE LIONS which had been camping near Gondal town of Rajkot district were caged by a team of rescuers from Sasan wildlife division of Gujarat forest department Wednesday night and taken to a rescue centre in Junagadh.
Forest officers said that the rescued lions will be released in their “territory”, following due procedure. This is the second time this year that lions have been rescued from near Gondal after they reached that area while exploring new territories.
“Three lions which were moving in Gondal taluka have been rescued by Sasan team last night. These lions will be released back soon to their natural habitat after due process,” Dushyant Vasavada, chief conservator of forests (CCF) of Junagadh wildlife circle, said on Thursday.
Sasan wildlife division falls under the jurisdiction of Junagadh wildlife circle. Sources said the lions were captured from a vidi (grassland) lying between Lunivav and Sindhavadar villages west of Gondal town.
The move comes 10 days after the lions–one female and two sub-adults–entered Gondal taluka on December 6 after leaving their territory in Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary (GWLS) abutting Junagadh city, around 60 km south of Gondal. Before entering Gonal town, the lions had explored Jetpur taluka which borders Junagadh district. They had preyed on a cow, an abanoned bullock and a wild boar in Gondal as per forest department records.
The CCF said that the lions were rescued and removed from Gondal due to complaints from local people. “The lions used to keep moving between Gonal and Jetpur and there were several representations from local people to rescue them. Therefore, in the best interest of the animals, we rescued them,” said Vasavada.
On January 3, a team of rescuers and lion trackers from Sasan had rescued three male lions which had been camping between Rajkot city and Gondal town.
Incidentally, the rescue operation in January this year had also come days after Lakhabhai Sagathiya, BJP MLA from Rajkot (Rural) made a representation to the forest department, seeking relocation of the lions from near the city.
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