Lions paid visit to Indian town twice in a week, causing panic among people
A week after a pride of eight lions were spotted taking a stroll along the highway passing through an Indian town, another pride of lions was spotted roaming the stretch of the highway at Bhavnath in Junagadh district of western Indian state of Gujarat.
During the day, a lone lions was filmed roaming around, but at night a pride of four lions were spotted at the same stretch of the highway at Bhavnath.
The recurring spottings of lions in the town has caused panic among the people living in and around Junagarh area.
The pride of lions spotted last week included two cubs was spotted roaming around near a residential area of Junagadh town, some 300 km from Ahmedabad.
In a separate incident, a man was severely injured when three lions attacked him in the Amreli in the Gir region known for its Asiatic lion population the same day.
Forests officials said the man was attacked while he was grazing goats near his village.
Three persons were killed in attacks by lions in the same area between March and May this year. A woman was also killed in the Gir Somnath district.
IS THE CELEBRATED MAN-LION CO-EXISTENCE IN INDIA'S GIR FOREST GOING TO END SOON?
The villages around Gir forest have long lived with the big cat. However, while in 23 years, there have been 18 fatal lion attacks here, six have been reported in five months of 2016 alone.
While Jayraj (14) was killed on May 20, Labhu Solanki (60) was attacked on April 10. The death of Zeena Makwana (54), killed in Ambardi on March 19, has worried experts, as reports indicate he had been eaten by the lions, which is extremely rare. Following the incidents, for the first time in Gir’s history, a pride of lions, including 13 members, was caged. A number of labourers have fled the farms surrounding Gir. Former state agriculture minister and senior BJP leader Dilip Sanghani, a native of Amreli, has written to the state forest minister demanding that farmers be allowed to shoot lions and leopards in self-defence.
As the lion population increases over the year, more such attacks are bound to happen. Now, even Maldharis, a community that lives inside the forest with their cattle, are scared about the change of behaviors of lions. These people have been living in palm leave-made huts and raising cattle in the core area of the jungle for centuries. But there has rarely any occasion when the lions have attacked them.
Text: Sanjay Pandey