What is killing Gir forest lions, what is the cause of death of 23 lions in 20 days and what is Gujarat government is doing to stop this epidemic? Here we will read all answer related to Gir Forest lions death. The Gujarat government says canine distemper could have caused the death of the Asiatic lions in Gir since the 12th of September. All 23 lions casualties were reported in the Dalkhaniya range. The forest officials and conservationist said that At least 23 Asiatic lions died in the last 20 days at the Gir National Park in Gujarat. such a huge number blind there is such a short span of time is extremely rare.
The National Institute of virology Pune has found evidence of a viral infection in some blood and tissue samples of a dead lion. there also reports that canine distemper virus was found in few samples. CDD is a deadly contagious viral disease seen Among many wild, as well as domestic animals.
|S.n||Asiatic Lion Place||Years Of Extinction|
|4||Eastern Vindhyas & Bundelkhand||1865|
|5||Central India & Rajasthan||1870|
The forensic science laboratory Junagadh also found tick-borne Protozoa infection in 6 samples. this Babesiosis Protozoa infection is carried by ticks found on most cattle, canines in the wild. The Indian Veterinary Research Institute Bareilly has also reach Gujarat to collect samples. as a precautionary measure, Gir authorities capture and isolated 31 lions from places adjacent to the one where the death occurred. The infected lions are being treated at the animal care centre.
Many teams have been deployed to cover around 3000 square kilometres in order to identify the infected lions and transport them to medical centres. The sudden deaths of lions in Gujarat was first reported in mid-September this year. when forest officials revealed 11 lions died between 12 to 19 September. 10 more died between 20th and 30th September. while two more big cats died during treatment on the 1st October. the death toll makes up 3.5% of 600 the lions believe to be present in Gir.
The supreme court expresses concern over the death of big cats in the Gir forest. The apex court demands an explanation from the Gujarat government over the cause of the lion’s deaths. the Gujarat high court also made an observation. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani term the death unfortunate and said action would be taken if negligence was found by the forest department.
Gujarat Forest Department aware of the presence of canine distemper virus since 2011 in Gir Forest’s lions. the first warning came in September 2011 when the centre for animal disease research in diagnosis and Indian Veterinary Research Institute analyse tissues form a carcass of a Gir lion.
It found the presence of highly contagious PPRV in the body is 20 lions. PPRV and Goat Plague is highly contagious and can be deadlier than CDV. Dr Richard Kock of the UK’s Royal Veterinary College warned that the disease could take the form of an epidemic and wipe out 40% of Gir’s Lion population.
In 2013, the Gujarat state biotechnology mission claims that they studied 10% of Gir’s forest lion to conclude that there was no trace of CDV or PPRV in wild population. however, in 2016 the death of four lions sent to Etawah’s lion safari Park Junagadh’s Sakkarbaug zoo attributed to canine distemper virus.
Lions expert says crammed for space, many lions in Gir live in close proximity to feral or even domestic dogs. Domestic dog species are known to carry canine distemper virus(CDV ). in 1990s CDV outbreak and wiped out nearly a third of Africa’s lions especially in Serengeti National Park Tanzania.
In 2016 one of India’s oldest and most popular lions Ram died of old age in the Gir forest. according to Gujarat Forest Department around hundred Lions annually in Gir Forest with the death rate peaking during monsoon. on an average of 31 to 32 lions in Gir forest died during the three months of monsoon at the year.
Found in Gir forest of Gujarat the Asiatic lion is one of the seven subspecies of lions that are scattered across the world. The Gir Sanctuary set up in 1965 is the only home to the Asiatic lion in the world. according to the latest census, 650 wildcats live Gir sanctuary presently. the Asiatic lion is also vulnerable to extinction due to unpredictable events.
At the end of the 19th century, the population decrease to 80 lions and lions were completely wiped out from other parts of Asia. the numbers improved thanks to the efforts of the Nawab of Junagadh, who decided to protect the lions in their own private hunting ground of the Gir.
Gir forest in Gujarat is spread across 1412 square kilometres of which 258 square kilometres is fully protected as a national park and 1153 Square kilometres as a wildlife sanctuary. Lions are categorised as critically endangered in 2000 after only 304 lions were recorded in Gir 1995 lions census.
Besides Africa Gir forest the only place in the world their lions can be seen in the wild. as it is the only area in Asia which is the natural habitat for the Asiatic lions. from a population of approximately 20 lions in 1913 the population rose nearly 650 lions in 2017. Lions populations spilling outside Gir forest also have a sizable and population. the 2015 census show that strength to be 523 lions which were 27% higher compared to the previous census in 2010 which was recorded 411 lions in the country.
Alternative Habits For Asiatic Lion
The Asiatic lions Exist as a single subpopulation in Gir. Experts feel the concentration of the entire land population at a single place exposes it to the danger of being wild out by the disease on natural calamity, excessive rain and flood in the region is also caused of concern for forest guard. In 2016 10 lions died due to floods.
How Government Is Protecting Gir Lions
In the past years, the Gujarat government has undertaken many efforts to conserve and protect these Majestic Asiatic lions. the government is also working and plans like relocating the lions to sanctuaries other then Gir to create a second home for Gir lions.
The species listed as endangered by the International Union for the conservation of nature, even though the Gir forest is well protected and the lion population has been steadily increasing in the past few years. they still facing potential threats including forest fires, epidemics and natural calamities. in the recent years, the government has made several efforts to conserve Asiatic lions.
Asiatic Lions Project
- Plan to set up second independent population at Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in MP.
- 1990: Proposal by Wildlife Institute of India to safeguard species against potential calamities in Gir National Park.
- April 2013: SC ordered translocation of Asiatic lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh.
- March 2017: Environment Ministry’s expert committee approved Kuno Palpur in MP.
Lion Breeding Programme
- Aims to create and maintain breeding centres.
- Carries out studies of the behaviour of Asiatic lions.
- Practices artificial insemination.
- Sakkarbaug Zoo at Junagadh has successfully bred 180 lions.
- 126 pure Asiatic lions sent to zoos in India and abroad.
- Census of lions conducted every five years.
- 2015 census counted 523 Asiatic Lions.
- 2017 internal count was 650.