Three more Asiatic Lions were killed after a goods train ran them over in Gir forest of Amreli district in Gujarat on Monday night. The two lions and a lioness that was killed belonged to pride of six. The incident on Monday takes the death toll of Asiatic lions to at least 26 since September this year.
“A goods train that was heading from Botad to Pipavav port, hit three of six lions of the pride during midnight. This led to the death of two lions and a lioness,” Chief Conservator of Forests, Junagadh wildlife circle, D T Vasavada told PTI.
An enquiry has also been ordered by the state forest department to probe whether the train was moving at a high speed which could have led to this incident. “We will also investigate whether the lion trackers or the forest staff were not doing their duty properly. Action will also be taken against those who found guilty,” he added. The forest officials are also keeping an eye on the rest three lions of the pride, so that they do not come near the railway tracks, reported IANS.
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The three lions were between the age of 1.5 to 2 years. The place where the incident happened is a revenue area, which is a little outside the protected forest, however, there should have been people who were meant to follow and protect that pride of lions, an expert told NDTV.
23 more lions of this endangered Asiatic species lost their lives in October this year, after succumbing to a deadly infection called Canine Distemper Virus and tick bone babesiosis. According to 2015 official data, there are around 523 lions left in the Gir forest, which established to protect the Asiatic lions in Gujarat.