Floods kill nine lions in Gujarat

Rain fury: Guards fan out across region to locate 35 missing big cats

Floods kill nine lions in Gujarat

In a major setback to Gujarat’s wildlife conservation, nine Asiatic lions are learnt to have been killed while 35 of them have gone missing in flash floods in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat during the last two days.

Carcases of five lions, including a three-month-old female cub, were found in Amreli district that received nearly 816 mm rainfall in three days, while two other dead lions were found in Bhavnagar district. Carcases of seven lions have been recovered so far

“At least 35 lions are believed to be missing and 15 teams of forest guards have fanned out across the region to search for animal carcases,” assistant conservator of forest CB Dhandhiya said.

Bodies of at least 150 neelgai, four spotted deers (cheetals), a wild boar and a porcupine have been found so far. In all, more than 1,000 animal carcasses have been found in the flood affected areas of Saurashtra region. A survey in May had said Asiatic lion population in Gujarat had risen over 27 per cent since 2010. In actual numbers, the survey found lion population go up from 411 to 523.

The survey was conducted over 20,000 sq km covering districts of Junagadh, Gir-Somnath, Devbhumi Dwarka, Bhavnagar and Amreli in the Saurashtra region.

Ironically, Amreli district boasted the highest increase with 174 lions, while Gir Somnath had 44 lions and Bhavnagar 37.  Saurashtra received 635 mm of excess rains this week, which claimed 77 lives and marooned 1,000 villages.

Sixty-six teams are surveying the state to compute human casualties, loss of livestock and properties. The state declared Rs 4 lakh compensation each for the families of the dead.

In Kerala

 Thiruvananthapuram and surrounding areas received heavy showers since morning, leading to traffic disruptions and water-logging in many areas.

Meanwhile, parts of the northern districts continue to record heavy rains with Vadakara in Kozhikode district recording 16 cm, the day’s highest. Kozha in Kottayam district (13 cm), Piravom in Ernakulam district and Vythiri in Wayanad district (12 cm each), Cherthala in Alappuzha district (11 cm) and parts of Idukki and Malappuram districts also recorded heavy to very heavy rains.

In its daily bulletin, the Meteorological centre at Thiruvananthapuram forecasts more shower in the state till Tuesday.

Between June 1 and 24, Kerala has received 346.9 mm rainfall, 29 per cent less than the long term average. The south-west monsoon hit the state on June 5.

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