Remains found at nearby Bhandariya village
· 3 arrested persons gave poaching information
· Protest by nature lovers
AHMEDABAD: Even as the mystery behind the killing of six lions in the Babariya range in the Gir sanctuary here remains unsolved, one more animal has fallen victim to poachers.
Police and forest officials are tight-lipped over the latest casualty in the only abode of Asiatic lions. But Forest department sources said the remains of an adult lion were found at Bhandariya village near the Jain pilgrim centre Palitana, on the periphery of the sanctuary on Saturday morning. Unconfirmed reports, however, said the remains indicate that at least four lions were killed.
The sources said the information on poaching was received from three persons, earlier arrested from Bhavnagar. Some lion traps were recovered from them. They are said to have confessed to having poached four lions and informed the police of the location of the remains. The CID (Crime) branch of the State police and the Forest department, inquiring into the poaching of six lions last month, claimed to have made a breakthrough after arresting about 35 persons, including over a dozen women, from Una. But they admitted that the "kingpins" were still missing.
The police claimed that the gang which killed the lions was the same that was involved in poaching of tigers in the Sariska sanctuary. It hailed from Katni district in Madhya Pradesh.
The Nature Lovers Association staged a daylong dharna here on Saturday demanding that the State Government further tighten security in and around the Gir sanctuary. Its convener Tushar Shah alleged that at least 16 lions had been killed in the sanctuary last month.