The Gujarat Forest department Friday said that the death of 11 lions over the past eight days in the state’s Gir Sanctuary was due to infighting and liver problems, and not foul play.
The carcasses of 11 lions were found from Gir (East) forest range. While nine of these were found from Dalkhaniya range, two were recovered from Jashadhar range, officials had informed. For administrative purpose, the Gir forest has been divided in east and west parts.
The Gujarat government’s press release Friday said that three lions died from infighting and the same number from respiratory and hepatic (relating to the liver) failure, while the post mortem reports of five other lions were awaited.
“Lions are territorial animals who live in prides. Infighting is common when a lion, heading a pride and controlling a territory, becomes old or is down with disease or injury,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forest(PCCF) G K Sinha told reporters.
“Mainly, it seems that the death of lions is due to infighting. It is the tendency of lions to covet other’s territory. If a lion succeeds in defeating the head of a pride, he also tends to kill the cubs in the pride,” Sinhasaid.
“In the present case, we have found bodies of two adult male lions, three female lions and six cubs,” he said.
He ruled out poaching or man-animal conflict as reasons for the death.
The state government Thursday had ordered an inquiry after carcasses of 11 lions were found in Gir (East) division of the forest.
Additional chief secretary, Forest and Environment Department, Dr Rajiv Kumar Gupta, had said that the inquiry was being conducted by principal chief conservator of forest (wildllife) A K Saxena.
As per the 2015 census, Gir is home to 520 lions.