Gir Lions Dying | Latest Burning Issues | Free PDF Download


  • The lion, which once roamed across southwest Asia but is now restricted to the 1,400 square kilometre (545 square mile) Gir sanctuary in Gujarat state, was listed as critically endangered in 2000, with its population under threat due to hunting and human encroachment on its habitat.

  523 in a 2015 census

  • May 2018 – More than 600 lions as per Vijay Rupani

 Population growing at about 2 % a year

  • “Infighting” deadly competition between prides of lions for supremacy over an area
  • Unconvincing explanation for the 11 lion deaths reported in Gir between September 10 and September 21
  • Male lions do, indeed, kill each other in fights over territory
  • Males may also kill the cubs to establish their own bloodline
  • Females are rarely, if ever, harmed in a battle of prides
  • lionesses among the 11 dead ?
  • Between September 12 and October 2, a total of 23 lions have died in the in the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park.
  • Eleven lion deaths were reported between September 11 and September 19. The dead included six cubs, three adult lionesses and two adult males.
  • Between September 20 and September 30, 10 more lions died.
  • All the 21 deaths within 19 days were reported from Sarasiya Vidi area of Dalkhaniya range in Gir (East) forest division in Amreli district. On October 2, two more deaths were reported in Gir.
  • The deadly Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) has been found in 4 dead lions.
  • “Mystery disease”
  • The National Institute of Virology, Pune, has found evidence of a “viral infection” in some blood and tissue samples. Some reports have said canine distemper virus (CDV) has been found in four samples.
  • The Forensic Science Laboratory, Junagadh, has found tick-borne protozoa infection in six samples.
  • Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, team has reached Gujarat to collect samples
  • Gir authorities have captured and isolated 31 lions from areas adjacent to the one in which the deaths have occurred.
  • Gir has long lived in the shadow of potential epidemics. In 2012, studying frozen tissue samples taken from the carcass of a lion that died in 2007, IVRI researches flagged the presence of the Peste Des Petits Ruminants virus (PPRV).
  • UK’s Royal Veterinary College warned that the disease could take an epidemic turn and wipe out 40% of Gir’s lion population.
  • The Gujarat State Bio-Technology Mission claimed to have studied 10% of Gir lions by 2013 to conclude there was no trace of CDV or PPRV in the wild population.
  • In 2016, however, the deaths of four lions sent to Etawah’s lion safari park from Junagadh’s Sakkarbaug zoo were attributed to canine distemper PPRV or ‘Goat Plague’ is highly contagious, and can be deadlier than even CDV that wiped out a third of Africa’s lions in the mid1990s.
  • But it infects only domestic livestock — small ruminants like goats and sheep. It is part of a family of morbilliviruses that causes canine distemper in many carnivore species, measles in humans, and rinderpest in cattle.
  • There is no record of PPRV making carnivores sick. One must remember that genetic variation is very low among Asiatic Lions.
  • Each animal is related to the other since they all descended from a small founding stock. of survivors from the menagerie of the Nawab of Junagadh. Genetic variation is needed for resistance to disease.
  • Since there is no resistance, disease (like Canine Distemper in this case) spreads more rapidly. These lions should be housed in different geographical areas so that they can develop new adaptation to their geography which can then reflect in their genetic structure CDV wiped out a record 1,000 out of 3,000 lions in the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem in Tanzania and Kenya in 1994 in a matter of days

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