The Gujarat government on Friday told the state assembly that in the last two years a total of 313 lions have died at the Gir National Park of Junagarh district.
Gir is the only abode of the Asiatic lions in the world.
Replying to a written question by Congress MLA of Lathi constituency, Virji Thummar, the forest Minister Ganpatsinh Vasava informed the house that a total of 313 lions had died in Gujarat in the two years from January 2019 to December 2020.
Out of which, 69 lions have died natural deaths while two died unnaturally; 77 lionesses had died natural deaths, while 13 died unnaturally.
Out of the total 152 deaths of lion cubs, 144 died naturally while eight died of unnatural causes.
On the sub-question by the legislator on what steps were being taken by the government to curb unnatural deaths of the big cats, the minister informed that patrolling was carried out day and night by the Forest Department using patrol vehicles, weapons, walkie-talkie sets and tablets.
Joint patrolling was also carried out with Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL)
Thummar had alleged that lions were dying unnatural deaths as cattle carcass from regions outside the Gir forest were brought into the Gir region to be fed to the canines. The animal carcasses being infected had caused unnatural deaths of the lions.
The Minister replied that the government had not received any such complaints and if received, they will be dealt with.
According to the Lion Census 2020, there were 674 Asiatic lions in Gujarat, seeing a 29 per cent rise in the population of Asiatic lions in Gujarat since the previous census conducted in 2015.