A six-year-old boy died after being attacked by a lioness on an agricultural field in Virpur village of Visavadar taluka of Junagadh district on Tuesday. Efforts are on to rescue the wild animal, forest officers said.
The victim was identified as Amit Maheda and the incident took place on the agricultural field of one Udaybhai in Virpur village. “The boy’s parents are native of Madhya Pradesh but are working in Virpur as agricultural labourers. A rescue team from Sasan has reached the spot and efforts are on to rescue the lioness,” chief conservator of forests of Junagadh wildlife circle, Dushyant Vasavada said.
The boy was rushed to the state government-run Community Health Centre in Bilkha where doctors declared him brought dead. Forest officers said that the the boy’s father Dharmiya Mahida and his family have been working as agricultural labourers for the past four years in Visavadadar.
“We don’t know the circumstances of the attack but it is confirmed that the boy was attacked by a lioness. We found pugmarks of a lioness at the place where the incident is alleged to have happened. People of the area had also reported presence of lions in the area. The field where the incident took place is on the bank of river Ozat. The riverine patch has thick vegetation and lions could be present there,” Dheeraj Mittal, deputy conservator of forests (DCF) of Gir (west) division said.
The area falls in Grass Round of Visavadar range forest of Gir (west).
Mittal said that the fact the boy was injured but not eaten by the lioness indicated that the carnivore might not have attacked the child believing it to be her prey. “Pugmarks suggest it could be a sub-adult or a young lioness. We have set up cages in the area and efforts are on to rescue the suspect animal,” added the DCF.
Unless provoked, Asiatic lions generally do not attack human beings.
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