The Gujarat forest department today arrested four persons for allegedly chasing a lion cub in their car in Visavadar taluka of Junagadh district located close to the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, officials said. A video of the purported incident, which took place on June 17, has gone viral on the social media, drawing flak from animal lovers. The video, which lasts around one minute, shows the cub running frantically ahead of the car on a narrow path at night to save its life.
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Although none of the occupants of the car could be seen in the video, one of them is heard asking the driver in Gujarati to chase the cub: “Increase speed, hit it… go fast.. shoot it.. we will not get the chance again.” The cub, however, disappeared into the bushes and escaped unhurt.
Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF), Junagadh Wildlife Circle, A P Singh said after the incident came to light, the forest officials initiated an inquiry and nabbed the four accused from Bhavnagar today. They were held on charges of endangering the life of a lion cub, the official said.
“These four men, accused of chasing the cub, were held by the forest officials from Bhavnagar. We also seized their car. We will seek their remand from court to investigate their motive behind this act,” Singh said. According to the official, the video was shot somewhere in Visavadar taluka of Junagadh district on June 17.
Visavadar is close to the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, known as the last abode of Asiatic lions. There are around 523 lions in the sanctuary. “We learned that when they said ‘shoot it,’ they meant shooting video of the cub on their mobile phone, not shooting the cub with a gun. We are investigating this case from all the angles,” Singh said.