240 lions, 370 leopards died in Gujarat in 2 years: Forest minister in assembly
In the last two years, 240 lions and 370 leopards have died in Gujarat, the state forest minister Mulubhai Bera told the legislative assembly on Tuesday (February 28).
Out of the 240 lions who died in Gujarat over the last two years, 26 of these fatalities were due to unnatural causes. 123 of them were cubs.
Responding to a query by senior Congress MLA Arjun Modhwadia during Question Hour, Bera said 370 leopards, including 100 cubs, also died in two years – 2021 and 2022 – in the state.
Of the 240 lion deaths, 124 were reported in 2021 and 116 in 2022. In the case of leopards, 179 died in 2021 and 191 last year, the minister said in a written reply during the budget session in the assembly.
Also read: Gujarat Assembly passes two bills on day one
As many as 214 lions succumbed to natural causes, while 26 fatalities were due to unnatural causes. These deaths happen when big cats get hit by vehicles or fall into open wells, he said. Among leopards, 256 deaths were due to natural causes and 114 fatalities were attributed to unnatural reasons, Bera said.
The state government has taken various steps to prevent unnatural deaths of big cats such as appointing veterinary doctors and introducing an ambulance service for timely intervention and treatment of lions and other wild animals, the minister said in the House.
The state has also adopted other, which include building speed-breakers and installing signboards on roads passing through sanctuary areas, regular foot patrolling in forests, building parapet walls for open wells near forests, putting up fences on both sides of the railway track near Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and radio-collaring Asiatic lions to track their movement, he said.
As per the last census conducted in June 2020, Gujarat is home to 674 Asiatic lions.
The state is the world’s last abode of Asiatic lions.