Humans and wildcats often come into conflict as habitat loss provokes big cats to expand their ranges–finding easy prey…resulting in deadly consequences for all…
As is the case in India’s Gir forest. The BBC reported earlier this week that a pride of 18 lions in western Gujarat state were captured after three people were killed between April and May. Evidence of human remains were found in the excrement of one adult male and two young female lions, Gujarat’s chief conservator AP Singh said.
The male lion will be sent to a zoo, while the females will remain in captivity at a rescue centre.
Mr Singh told reporters officials believed that only the male lion had actually attacked and killed humans, with the lionesses eating “leftover” meat.
Six attacks on humans in the same time period were reported recently near the sanctuary, the only habitat of the Asiatic lion. The other 15 lions are free to go back into the sanctuary, but Mr Singh said they would be released into “deeper pockets” of the forest.
Some experts feel that the thriving lion population in Gir is to blame for the “unusual” behavior by the lions.
Govind Patel, the former chief wildlife warden of Gujarat, told the Indian Express newspaper that Gir could accommodate only 270 lions, forcing some prides to settle outside the boundaries of the sanctuary.
India’s Supreme Court ruled that Gujarat needed to relocate some of its lions to other states to avoid the possibility of disease or other disaster wiping out the entire population.
However, the state has expressed reluctance and not yet complied with the order.
A South African lioness and her two cubs were not so fortunate as their comrades in Gir, as they were shot and killed outside of Kruger National Park, near the Phabeni Gate of the park.
The lioness and two cubs were part of a pride of about ten lions who allegedly escaped from the Kruger National Park and killed and ate several farm animals.
According to police in Hazyview, officers on night patrol between Hazyview and Phabeni, saw the pride of lions which they attempted to scare away using their vehicle.
The following day a local farmer complained to the police that a cow and calf as well as two pigs had been killed by the lions. The police then notified the relevant conservation authorities about the incident.
Rangers of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) made the decision to wait for the lions by a carcass. At one point, three females and several cubs emerged from the bushes and started eating the carcass. During this time a lioness and two cubs were shot.
The rest of the pride, including a large male lion, then retreated. It is now thought that the pride has made its way back to the park through the fence.
William Mabasa, a spokesman for the Kruger National Park, confirmed the lions came from the park, but said the park’s rangers were not involved in the incident.
He said that the lions probably crawled under the park fence as there is a creek that runs under it near where the lions were shot. While the fate of wild animals within the park’s fence is determined by Kruger’s management, outside the fence the responsibility falls to MTPA.
A spokesman for the MTPA said it is difficult to anesthetize the lions and move them back to the park.
She said there is possibility that the lions will escape from the park again as there is livestock outside the park that can be easily caught.
Police said residents of Nyongane, Shabalala, Goromane, Hoxani, Malubane and Mkhuhlu region have been warned to be on the lookout for lions.