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States » West


Lion mauls driver to death in Gir forest, injures two others

Sasan Gir (Gujarat), Nov 29 (UNI) A 34-year old driver was mauled to death and two others were injured after a lion attacked them in Devaliya interpretation zone cum safari area situated at a distance of 13 km from here in Gir Somnath district here on Thursday.
Mutilated body of Rajnish Keshwala was later found at a distance of 2 km from the cage of the big cat from which it was reportedly being taken out when it suddenly became aggressive.
It also injured another such employee Dinesh Sankal when he tried to rescue Rajnish. A regular employee (forester) Meramal Bharda was also injured later by the beast while he was trying to recover the dead body of his colleague.

CCF Junagadh D T Vasavada told UNI that it was first of its kind incident in the area where a total of 10 lions have been kept. "These lions are put inside a cage every evening and taken out in the morning before the arrival of tourists. Not all 10 lions are kept out together at any given time,' he added.

"The two injured have been admitted to hospital. We will conduct a detailed inquiry in to the incident," he said.

Notably, the Devaliya interpretation zone, situated in the Gir forests, the only abode of Asiatic lions, spread across 3 districts of Gujarat, has been turned in to a lion Safari recently and it remains open even during Monsoon when the 110 sq km tourist zone of Gir National Park cum Sanctuary remains closed for 4 months every year. Gypsy vehicles have also been introduced for seeing lions in Devaliya interpretation zone where earlier only mini buses were used for the same.

As per the last lion census of 2015, Gir was home to 523 lions including male, female and cubs. Meanwhile the lion safari has been closed for the day in the wake of the incident.
UNI RAJ SDR 1640
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