Four detainees in Gir lions’ electrocution case sent to 4-day police remand

November 14th, 2007 - 2:36 am ICT by admin  
The four arrested were presented before judicial magistrate in Dhari town.

The caracasses of five Asiatic lions, including two cubs, were found hidden at separate spots near the agricultural land of a farmer, who was later arrested by the police on Friday.

The farmer’s three sons, who helped him, have also been sent to police custody.

The farmer family is accused of erecting a barbed wire fence around their farm and passing electric current “illegally” through it to prevent animals from entering the farm.

The caracasses of the animals were found hidden in Prempara region of State’s Amreli District, close to the Gir Lion Sanctuary.

The accused are facing charges under different sections of the wildlife protection act.

Pradeep Khanna, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Wildlife in Gujarat, on Friday said that the body parts of all the lions — three adult female lions and two cubs — one male and one female — were intact, except for the two nails of a cub missing.

“Electrocution marks are primarily visible on all five bodies and all their body parts are intact. We have not been able to find two nails of one of the cubs, for which search operations are going on,” said Khanna.

Twenty-one lions have died over the last five years after falling into open wells in the Gir Sanctuary, raising questions about the safety of wild animals and the conservation system in the sprawling, 1,400 sq km sanctuary.

According to a government census, the number of lions in Gir, where they are protected and bred in natural conditions, had risen to 359 in 2005 from 327 in 2001.

Asiatic lions, which are different from African lions, with a characteristic skin fold on their bellies and thinner manes on male lions, were at one time easily found in Asia.

Wildlife activists say the lions are also under threat from thousands of villagers living in and around the forests. (ANI)

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