A PIL has been filed in Gujarat High Court, seeking direction to the state government not to suppress the "real cause" of death of lions in Sasan Gir, the only abode of Asiatic lions in the world.
The petitioner also has raised questions about the procurement of the Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) vaccine to treat the big cats against the virus.
In his PIL, Varjang Galabhai Karamta, a resident of Maliya Hatina in Junagadh, raised the issue of deaths of lions in recent times and asked why is the state Forest Department not disclosing the real cause, and "instead giving false information that the lions died due to infighting".
The PIL has asked the high court to direct the state government to declare data of each and every lion on the official portal or website of the Forest Department, and reveal the exact cause of death of every lion in the recent times as well as in the past.
The petitioner has also sought a proper investigation of lions' deaths in the past.
Questioning the procurement of CDV vaccine from the US, the PIL said that the Chief Conservator of Forests, D.T. Vasavda had stated that there was no disease or virus infection in lions, and if "this was true, then why did the state government procure more than 1,100 vaccine doses".
The PIL has also raised questions about the administration of the vaccine. "Sasan Gir does not have adequate number of veterinary doctors and in their absence, forest guards and trackers are administering these vaccines to the big cats which could be very risky," it said.