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‘Extremely Serious’: Supreme Court Seeks Reply from Gujarat, Centre on Death of 23 Gir Lions

The top court was hearing a PIL relating to preservation of green forests in the country when it expressed anxiety over the death of 23 big cats since September 12.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:October 3, 2018, 4:07 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the Gujarat and central governments over the death of 23 lions in the state's Gir Forest in the last 20 days.

"This is extremely serious...so many lions have died," observed a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur.

The top court was hearing a PIL relating to preservation of green forests in the country when it expressed anxiety over the death of 23 big cats since September 12.

"Lions must be protected. Why so many deaths...you must find out the reasons and do something to stop it," the bench told Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni.

The government's law officer said he was not aware about the details of the issue.

The court retorted: "It is there in all the newspapers. Lions have been dying day after day."

At this, Nadkarni sought some time to look into the matter and come back to the court with a reply.

The bench gave him a week while also demanding an explanation from the Gujarat government over the cause of the lions' deaths.

Gir is home to India's entire population of around 500 wild Asiatic lions.

Infighting and infections in liver and kidney are the main causes for the recent death of lions, the Forest Department has claimed.

Relentless development near Gir — roads through the forest in the 1,400-square kilometre-wildlife sanctuary, expanding villages and illegal mining — is also forcing animal-human proximity. The Supreme Court is seized of many of such matters.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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