Rajkot, February 26, 2007
Open wells with no parapets on the periphery of the 1400 sq km Gir forest in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat continue to be the fatal death traps for lions and other big cats, particularly their cubs. Already a number of lion and leopard cubs have died after unknowingly falling into such wells, which are numerous around the sanctuary, and others keep dying similarly at regular intervals.
In two separate incidents that occurred on Sunday, two lion cubs and a leopard met with tragic end after they accidentally stepped into two water-filled open wells on the border of the eastern Gir. The cubs, barely two months old, fell into an open well in the farm of Jilu Jebaliya about 6 km from Dalkhaniya Range of the forest.
Forest authorities had difficult time taking the carcasses of the cubs out of the well. As per the postmortem report, there were no signs of external injuries on their bodies. According to local people, two lionesses and six cubs were seen around the place of incident.
The lionesses had killed a blue bull about 150 metres from the farm. It is presumed by the forest officials that the cubs had probably visited the open well to quench their thirst after having feasted on the kill of the blue bull.
In another similar incident, forest authorities brought out the carcass of a leopard from an open well in the farm of Nanubhai Rudani near Amreli in Sarasiya Range of the eastern Gir. The postmortem report confirmed that the leopard had sustained no external injuries.