Asiatic lions of Gir reserve faces tough challenge

Asiatic lions of Gir are facing a tough challenge in Gujarat. The deaths of at least 23 lions in Gujarat’s Gir forest reserve in less than three weeks have shocked conservationists and animal lovers. It appears that Canine Distemper Virus has taken the life of some of the lions that died mysteriously in last one month. According to forest experts this disease spreads to Lion when they eat cats and dogs affected with the deadly virus. These deaths are reported from Dalkhania range of forests in Gir East division spread in Amreli district. Swinging into action, Gujarat government has now moved about 30 other lions in this affected forest range to safe place- Jasapar Rescue centre at Gir in Somnath district. Experts have been called from Pune, Bariely, Etawah and Delhi to give immunization to these lions to prevent any further deaths. Gujarat government is also importing a specific vaccine from USA to deal with the emergency. Chief minister Vijay Rupani termed the deaths “unfortunate” and said action would be taken if negligence was found on part of the forest department. Gujarat had the total 523 lions in the last census, out of that 80 used to live in the affected Dalkhania range.

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