In 2013, 76 lions had died in Gujarat. The number increased to 78 in 2014
In a recent statement to the Rajya Sabha, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that 91 Asiatic lions died in the country in 2015 which is the highest in the past three years.
Responding to a question posed by Hishey Lachungpa, an MP from Sikkim Democratic Front, on the rise in the number of deaths of Asiatic lions in India, Javadekar added, “Asiatic lions are found in the wild only in Gujarat. As informed by the government of Gujarat, there has been an increase in the number of deaths of Asiatic Lions in the state.”
In 2013, 76 lions had died in Gujarat. The number increased to 78 in 2014 and touched 91 in 2015, Javadekar said.
Speaking about the reasons behind the deaths, the minister said, “The increase in the (number of) deaths of Asiatic lions is due to both natural and unnatural reasons. Natural reasons are infighting among lions, succumbing to illnesses and injuries, mortality of cubs, old age etc. Unnatural deaths occur due to road and railway accidents and (lions) falling in open wells in the revenue area. Further, in 2015, 10 lions died due to drowning in a natural calamity of flash floods followed by heavy rains in Amreli district.”
Speaking on the efforts taken to mitigate the unnatural reasons behind lion deaths, Javadekar added that the Centre had been providing financial and technical assistance to Gujarat under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats scheme for providing better protection to wildlife.
“A scheme of construction of parapet walls around open wells in the revenue area is being implemented by the state government. Under this scheme, 50 per cent assistance is paid to the farm owner for constructing parapet wall.”
Javadekar also highlighted various mitigation measures for wildlife due to development activities, including construction of safe under and over passes on railway tracks, chain-linked wire fencing on both sides of accident-prone parts of railway tracks in Amreli district for avoiding lion deaths, speed breakers on roads and display of sign boards.
He also said that effective and efficient rescue work of injured animals was being carried out for saving lions besides the establishment of hospitals for treating sick and injured lions and spreading awareness among the public to educate people on lion conservation.
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