Gir Somnath (Gujarat) [India], Sept. 18 (ANI
): Two Asiatic lionesses were spotted walking on the streets of Gujarat' Gir- Somnath district recently. The wild animals had strayed into the residential area and were seen chasing cattle in a video captured on Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras.
The Chief Conservator of Forest, R.L. Meena, said that the lion population has spiked recently, increasing chances of these big cats straying into human settlements.
"Lately, the population of lions in the Gir forest has increased and there are chances that these wild animals may enter into human settlements and kill some livestock. But we always try to reach the location on time. We also provide compensation for loss of cattle to the people," he said.
Meanwhile, panic has gripped the area after news of the unexpected visitors spread.
The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), also known as the Indian lion or Persian lion, is a lion sub-species that exists as a single population in Gujarat. Some Asiatic lions also live in zoos. It is listed as an endangered species by the IUCN due to its small population size. Since 2010, the lion population in the Gir Forest National Park has steadily increased. In May 2015, the 14th Asiatic Lion Census was conducted over an area of about 20,000 square kilometers. The lion population then was estimated at 523, comprising of 109 adult males, 201 adult females and 213 cubs. (ANI