June 27, 2018 8:55:05 am
The Asiatic lion which was found dead in the Shetrunji riverbed in Bhavnagar district earlier this month died after coming in contact with a live electric wire in an agricultural field, an inquiry by the forest department has concluded.
The carcass of a male lion, aged 10 to 12 years, was found in the Shetrunji river in Talaja taluka of Bhavnagar district on June 6. At the time, the forest department did not reveal the cause of death and had said that the matter was being probed.
However, a forest official in Bhavnagar informed The Indian Express on Tuesday that the lion was electrocuted. “A panel of veterinarians of animal husbandry department and forest department conducted the post mortem and concluded that the lion was killed due to electric shock. Burn injury marks were also visible on the animal’s body,” the officer said.
According to the officer, the forest department had withheld the findings of the post mortem report in order to identify the accused.
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“The lion was electrocuted after it accidentally touched a steel wire which was connected to an electricity source in order to prevent wild boars and blue bulls from raiding the standing crop. When the farmers came to know about the death of the lion, they dumped the carcass in the riverbed,” the officer said.
Farmers in the area often erect such electric wires around their farms to prevent the entry of herbivores like wild boars and blue bulls or nilgais that often damage standing crop by raiding farms, especially at night
“We have already questioned a man who is a share-cropper on a nearby field. However, we suspect more than one persons were involved and efforts are on to identify them,” the officer added.
“Lion population has increased with the tolerance the residents. But more and more lions are moving out of protected forest areas and settling into revenue land. This has increased man-animal conflict,” said the officer.
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