Yesterday, a video went viral on social media, showing a group of bikers chasing lions, lionesses and lion cubs in Gujarat’s Gir sanctuary. The video, which lasts less than a minute, shows four men on two motorcycles cornering and chasing a pride of lions. Men on one of the bike first chase adult lions, before turning back to target cubs. One of the four men is heard asking the men (in Gujarati) on the other bike to stop chasing cubs.
Lions being treated with disdain. Such sadistic acts are commonplace across lion habitats outside PAs in Gujarat. Forest department should severely reprimand such miscreants. Unfortunately, it is incapable of doing so! @GargiRawat @SanctuaryAsia @Purab_Kohli @deespeak @SwatiWild pic.twitter.com/TMdHsgks0T
— Anish Andheria (@anishandheria) November 8, 2017
The incident has left wildlife enthusiasts fuming, and has resulted in forest department officials initiating an inquiry. Meanwhile, one of the bike’s registration plates was caught on the video, and police officials quickly managed to arrest one of the four men from Rajkot. A hunt for the others was launched, and the three other men are also said to be in police custody now.
The Gir lion sanctuary is the only habitat of the Asiatic lion, which once roamed the entire subcontinent. The 1,400 square kilometer sanctuary has thickly populated villages all around, and as this video indicates, man-animal conflict is rampant. Over 500 lions are estimated to be living in the Gir sanctuary. The Asiatic lion, once known a fearsome predator, is rarely known to attack humans who live around the Gir sanctuary. In the past, lions of Gir have been poisoned for stealing livestock.
Never mess with wild animals!
India’s forests are rapidly dwindling, and animals – previously unseen on roads that pass through jungles or wildlife reserves – are now being spotted frequently. While most flee back into the jungles, the ones that stay back are often harassed by curious motorists.
It’s not just dangerous to harass a wild animal but it’s also incredibly stupid. For one, the persons harassing animals can be booked under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act. Moreover, animals can retaliate, often with deadly consequences for the harassers. An adult male lion can weigh nearly 200 kilograms and can break the back of a human with just one swipe of its paw.