A lion entered a farmer’s house at Patla village in Gujarat’s Amreli district Sunday night and killed a buffalo calf before seeking refuge in a room where groundnut was stored. Forest officials later broke open the rear door of the house and let the lion out.
“We received an alert around 9:30 pm on Sunday that a sub-adult lion had jumped over the compound wall of the residence of a farmer named Jilubhai Vala at Patla village on the border of Gir forest… Our staff, including deputy conservator of forests of Gir (East), P Purushothama, rushed to the spot and planned a rescue operation,” Dushyant Vasavada, Chief Conservator of Forests (Junagadh Wildlife Circle), said.
Unad Vala, the farmer’s cousin told The Indian Express that there were around 15 people in the house when the lion entered the farmer’s residence.
“We were watching television when the lion crossed the wall and killed a three-year-old buffalo calf. After the lion killed the calf, other buffaloes, around 20 of them, chased it away. While trying to escape, the lion entered a room where groundnut was stored. We locked the children and women of our family inside a room and then locked the room where the lion had taken refuge,” said 46-year-old Unad, also a farmer.
After the family members raised an alarm, villagers gathered outside the residence and alerted the forest department.
Forest officials said that the rescue operation lasted over two-and-a-half hours. “The storeroom had a rear door that opened into an open space in the village. But that door was locked from inside. After initial hesitation, the farmer allowed us to break that door. We arranged our vehicles on either side of the rear door and also formed a human chain to ensure that the animal does not enter any other house. As soon as we broke the door, the lion ran away and disappeared in the nearby bushes,” Vasavada said.
“We have initiated the process to pay compensation to the farmer for the loss of the calf. Nobody was injured in the incident and we did not have to use tranquiliser darts to rescue the lion,” the forest officer added.
According to locals, lions are commonly sighted at Patla village. “Lions often come to our village at night. We have been spotting them for the last six days,” said Unad.