Junagarh: Three Asiatic lions were killed after being mowed down by a goods train in Junagarh district of Gujarat.
The accident took place near Borala village of the district on Monday late night when a pride of six lions was sitting on the railway track.
Taking cognisance of the matter, Chief Conservator of Forests, Junagadh wildlife circle, DT Vasavada said, “This is a very unfortunate incident. An inquiry is being conducted about the train speed. We will take action under Wild Life Protection Act against those found guilty.”
The speed of the train in such sensitive areas should be 40 kmph but according to reports; the drivers did not implement the rule, which lead to the accident endangering the lives of the animals.
Divisional Railway Manager of Bhavnagar Roopa Srinivasan said, “Usually we get alert about the movement of lions due to which the speed of the trains gets reduced in such areas. In this case, we have to examine what went wrong. We have been suggested to install infrared cameras which will help us to avoid such accidents.”
This came a few months after at least 23 lions died in Gir, following an outbreak of canine distemper virus or CDV.
Reportedly, around half-a-dozen lions have died after being hit by a train in the Rajula and Savarkundla ranges in 2014 and 2015. This led the Forest Department to erect chain-linked fencing on either side of the rail tracks over a stretch of around 10-km from the Pipavav port to Rajula town. Unfortunately, no such said fencing was erected at Borala where the latest incident took place.
Asiatic lions are an endangered species and their only population in the world is surviving in Gir forest in Gujarat. Their population was estimated to be around 600.