Yet, another lion casualty was recorded on railway tracks early on Sunday morning. The male lion cub, estimated to be around six to seven months old, was found dead on the tracks leading to the Pipavav port near Gerai Umechia village in the Rajula range of Amreli district. Forest officials believe that the lion might have been hit by the train early in the morning.
It should be noted that this is the sixth lion casualty to be recorded in the state in road and rail accidents. Environmentalists, working for lion conservation, fear that if this continues, it would weaken Gujarat’s tall claims of lion protection and give Madhya Pradesh an upper hand in the battle for lion translocation.
Dinesh Goswami of Prakruti Nature Club said the present incident happened 1000 metre from where the earlier deaths of two lionesses were recorded. “On the one hand, we are engaged in a legal battle to prevent translocation of lions to Madhya Pradesh on the ground that they will not be safe there. On the other hand, we are recording regular deaths of lions in Gujarat. How will we sustain our argument in the face of such happenings,” he said. Meanwhile, chief wildlife warden CN Pandey said the incident was unfortunate as the forest department was putting in sustained efforts to bring down such incidents.
“We have also increased the tracker strength in these areas and the trackers have acted to avoid several such incidents. We have particularly identified certain pockets the 35-40 km stretch of line treating them as sensitive areas. These are areas where lion movements are generally seen so as to help avoid such incidents,” said Pandey. Following the earlier incidents, the forest department had also trained train drivers, helping them understand lion behaviour, movement and how to spot them from a distance.