Two lions including a lioness and a lion cub were found dead in Dalkhaniya range of Gir (East) forest on Monday September 25, taking the total death count of Asiatic lions in the area to 13 in past 10 days. The unusual occurrence that has forced the state’s forest department to undertake a mammoth mission of tracking down all of the national park’s majestic Asiatic lions.
Forest officers said that one of the teams tasked with the screening of the lions in Gir forest and other protected areas for possible illness had spotted a lioness in poor health. While the lioness died before she could be given medical aid, the cub died during treatment at veterinary centre.
As quoted by a national daily The Indian Express, an official release from the office of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) GK Sinha said, “a scan of the dead lioness revealed that a micro-chip had been fitted on her and that she had been given medical treatment in September last year after she had fallen ill. Local staff has undertaken the task of conducting a post-mortem and to check if she had contracted any infection.”
Since September 12, a total of 13 lions have now died in the Gir Forest National Park. Forest officials had previously ruled any foul play behind the death of the lions and had suggested that most of the deaths were linked to infighting.