As many as 23 lions have died in Gujarat's Gir Sanctuary since September 12, with two more lost their lives on Tuesday. Additional chief secretary of the forest department Rajiv Kumar Gupta said two lions, shifted to a rescue centre during a screening drive, died in the morning due to infection,"
So far, 11 lions have died in the forest due to reasons such as infighting and infections between September 12 and 19, while 10 more died between September 20 and 30 after they were shifted to a rescue centre.Meanwhile, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani termed the deaths "very unfortunate".
"It was a very unfortunate incident. 20-22 lions inhibiting in one forest range have died due to infection. To make sure that other lions are alright, we have called in doctors from Delhi and Pune to examine them," Rupani told reporters in Porbandar on Tuesday.
"We are also probing whether the officers who have the responsibility of that range have shown carelessness," he said.All these lions lived in Sarasiya area of the Dalkhania range of Gir Sanctury, officials said.
Teams comprising experts from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Delhi Zoo and Lion Safari project in Uttar Pradesh have been roped in for conducting health check-up of lions, collecting samples and preparing and analysing reports, according to officials.As a precautionary measure, the government has decided to bring some specialised medicines and vaccines from the US.
During the ongoing screening drive to identify and rescue all the sick and injured lions in the forest, the department has found that the lion population has now gone up to 600, much higher than 523 lions counted in the last census of 2015.
(With PTI inputs)