The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur on Wednesday, while expressing it's concern over the unfortunate death of 23 lions in last 20 days, in Sarasiya area of the Dalkhania range of Gir Sanctury, questioned the Gujarat and Central governments. The court further sought reply from both the governments and also details of what preventive measures they will adopt to control the situation.
The Court said,
"Lions must be protected. Why so many deaths...you must find out the reasons and do something to stop it......This is extremely serious.."
It was claimed that some lions died because of infections between the period of September 12 to September 19, whereas some lions lost their lives when they were shifted to a rescue centre.
The observation of the Court came during the hearing of a PIL in connection with the preservation of green forests in the country.
However, the Centre during the course of proceedings, sought some time to look into the issue citing unavailability of the complete details regarding case while, the Gujarat government assured the bench that it will take imperative actions for the same.
Nevertheless, the court in response said,
"It is there in all the newspapers. Lions have been dying day after day."
The Court has given a week's time to the Centre and also sought an explanation from the Gujarat government regarding the reason of the deaths.
As per the sources the lions have died due to infighting and infections in liver and kidney but the virus found in the carcasses of the animals has not been idenitifed yet.
The recent deaths of lions has resulted in a drop down in the already small population of the Asiatic lion and the virus responsible for the deaths seems like an unsolved puzzel for the authorities concerned, though, the samples of the animals have been forwarded to the Pune virology institute for probing the reason behind their deaths.