By new South Asia correspondent Vikhar Sayeed. If you feel like writing for us, drop us an email!
While India is well known for its tigers, what is not so well known is that it is also home to a rare subspecies of the lion found only in India.
The numbers of the already depleted Asiatic lion were reduced further when five lions were electrocuted three days back by an illegal fence put up by a farmer.
District authorities said that the fence was put up by a cotton farmer in the region to stop stray animals from drifting into his farm. After the lions were killed he buried the carcasses in deep pits to avoid detection. Suspicion about the missing lions led the police to his doorstep.
Gir National Park, in the province of Gujarat in western India, is home to around 350 Asiatic lions and is the last home for this beautiful big cat, which was hunted to extinction in almost all of Asia at the turn of the last century. The few lions that survived in this part of the world were protected by the establishment of the Gir National Park in 1965, and their population has increased from 177 in 1968 to more than 350 in 2005.
Its success in breeding lions could’ve been better if not for the conflicts that the lions have with local farmers over space. The lions are also constantly preyed upon by poachers. The irony of the whole situation is that the Indian state cannot even protect the lion which is the national emblem of India!
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