Gandhinagar | Over 200 lions died in the Gir forest region in the last two years, the Gujarat government told the legislative Assembly on Friday.
Only 27 of these deaths were because of “unnatural” causes such as getting hit by a train or falling into a well, it said.
To a query by Congress’ Bhagabhai Barad, forest minister Ganpat Vasava, in a written reply, said 110 lions and 94 cubs died in 2017 and 2018.
Of the 110 adult lions, 43 died in 2017 and 67 in 2018. Thirty-eight cubs died in 2017 and 56 in 2018, the reply said.
Of the 204 deaths, 27 (21 lions and six cubs) were because of “unnatural causes” such as falling into a well or being run over by a train, the minister said.
Vasava also said that 331 leopards, including 75 cubs, died in Gujarat forests in the last two years, adding the state government was taking various steps to prevent deaths due to unnatural causes.
Some of these preventive measures are building parapets around wells, fencing railway tracks, construction of speed breakers on roads passing through sanctuaries and continuous patrolling, the reply said.
To a question by Congress MLA Pratap Dudhat about the viral infection among lions last year, Vasava said 34 lions died in the last one year due to diseases including Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) infection.
Babesia, Streptococcal bacteria and Gram-negative bacilli infections were also responsible for some of these deaths, the minister said.
The government allocated Rs 21.96 crore for lion conservation in Gir in 2017 and Rs 27.89 crore in 2018, while the contribution of the Union government was Rs 1.92 crore and 1.06 crore for the last two years, he said.