Friday, December 12, 2008

India: 79 Asiatic lions die in past two years

New Delhi, Dec 11 (PTI) At least 79 Asiatic lions have died in Gir forest alone in Gujarat in the last two years since 2006, Environment minister S Reghupathy told the Lok Sabha.

According to Reghupathy, while 24 lions died in 2006, another 55 died in 2007. Out of the total deaths, as many as 50 died due to natural reasons such as old age while 13 animals died accidentally felling into wells in the area during the two years, he said.

The Minister, who was replying to a written question, said in 2007, six cases of electrocution and eight poaching incidents were also reported.

"As per information received from the state government, the population of Asiatic lion, based on the census carried out in 2005, is approximately 359 in Brihat Gir region of Gujarat," Reghupathy added.

The Minister said as part of its effort to protect the animal, the state government has taken several steps such as augmenting manpower, increased mobility of staff by providing motorcycles and other vehicles, better communication between the personnel and gathering support of local residents. PTI

http://www.ptinews.com/pti%5Cptisite.nsf/0/5A224005E0E210916525751C00542694?OpenDocument

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