Twenty three lions have died in Gir in Gujarat in the last 20 days, while three more are battling for their lives. But these were deaths foretold and with red flags raised as early as the 1950s, conservationists argue that Gujarat's misplaced pride is killing its lions. The three surviving lions, forest department officials confirmed, are also suffering from the same deadly outbreak of the canine distemper virus (CDV) and tick-borne babesiosis in the Dalkhaniya range. The forest department had initially claimed that the lions died due to infighting. But now the disease has been confirmed as the cause of death. The canine distemper virus and the PPRV are the two culprits that have been identified.