Carcasses of 10 blue bulls and an Asiatic lion were found from an open well on an agricultural farm in Likhala village of Amreli district on Friday. Forest officers said they are investigating the matter.
The carcasses of blue bulls, locally called nilgai, and a lion were found floating in the well of an agricultural filed belonging to one Jaysukh Suhagiya in Likhala village. The village, which is in revenue area, falls in jurisdiction of Savarkundla range of Gir (east) forest division.
“We are on the spot and investigating the matter,” Sakkira Begun, in-charge deputy conservator of forests of Gir (east) told The Indian Express. Forest officers said the carcasses were found floating at the depth of around 20 feet in the well. The well is around 50 feet deep, they further said.
“Prima facie, it seems that the animals were electrocuted. But veterinarians are conducting post-mortem on the carcasses to ascertain cause of deaths of these wild animals,” Kapil Bhatiya, range forest officer of Savarkundla said.
The agricultural field is located right on the edge of Vadal Beed, a reserve forest in Savarkundla range. The field is protected by a barbed-wire fencing and sources said no crop was there on the field presently though an electrical motor pump was there in the well.
“The carcasses have become bloated, suggesting they had been in the water for at least around three days,” said a source. The carcasses had been shifted to Vadal Beed for post-mortem even as forensic experts also examined the place where the animals were found dead.
Spread across Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts in Saurashtra region of Gujarat, the Gir forest and other protected areas are the only natural habitat of Asiatic lions in the world. The endangered Asiatic lions have been included in Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and killing or hunting this big cats can result into imprisonment and monetary fine. Similarly, blue bull is also a protected species of antelope and has been included in Schedule-III of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Blue bulls form a major share of animals Asiatic lions prey on in Amreli. Howeve, hordes of this ungulate raid standing crops, leading to a conflict between the animals and farmers. To keep these wild animals away from their
crops, some farmers attach live electric wires to wire-fencing round their fields, sometimes leading to electrocution of blue bulls and even lions.