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February 6, 2010

Lion falls into trap meant for man-eater leopard in Gujarat village

     Junagadh (Gujarat): A lion was trapped in a cage, which was intended to catch a suspected man-eater leopard in a village of Gujarat's Junagadh District on Friday. The trap was put in place by Forest Rangers to catch a leopard. Villagers had complained that lions and leopards often stray into the villages and eat their cattle. Following their complaints, forest authorities had placed a cage to trap the suspected man-eater leopard. The incident caused curiosity and panic among residents of Sukhpur village when they learnt about the lion in the trap. However, the authorities have stated that erroneously trapped lion will soon be set free in jungle. "Following a request from villagers, we had placed a cage to capture a leopard. Tonight a lion that is about four years of age, a male lion, has been trapped in that cage. Now we, as per the instructions of forest authorities, will treat the animal and would put it back in the forest area." said D. Sobhasaniya, Range Forest Officer (RFO), Junagadh. The depletion of their habitat has threatened the leopards, forcing them to stray into human settlements; attacking people and cattle and often getting killed in return. India had about 7,300 leopards in the wild, according to a 1997 census, but conservationists say the number is now likely to be much lower. Development pressures and encroachment into forest areas have also brought humans and the wild cats into conflict, and there have been reports of villagers brutally killing the animals.
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