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Lion cub run over by train in Gujarat

  A lion cub died was killed after being hit by a goods train in Gujarat's Amreli district on Sunday. The seven-month-old male cub was found lying besides the track between Bherai and Pipavav port. Some villagers spotted the body and called forest department officials. "We came to know about it at around 6.30am. Preliminary investigation shows that the cub died due to severe head injuries," P Purushothama, deputy conservator of forests, in charge of Amreli forest division, told TOI. Due to heavy rains in the region, the cub's body could not be taken to Dhareshwar nursery near Rajula where the postmortem is usually conducted.

 

Wildlife experts said that besides long-term measures like building smart green infrastructure train drivers need to be trained in lion behaviour. "Such accidents are completely avoidable. Railways should impose stringent standard operating procedures for trains like speed limits and special course for drivers who should be taught about the sudden movement of lions, their behaviour etc. As a long-term solution, the government needs to adopt smart green infrastructure like in many foreign countries where railways and roads don't overlap with the territories of animals," said Priyavrat Gadhvi, member, state wildlife board.

 

Gadhvi said that there is an urgent need to notify these belts as protected areas. In January two lionesses, one of them pregnant with three cubs, were run over by goods train on Savarkundla-Rajula track near the port. In February a lion died in a similar way near Bhammar village. Sources in forest department said that the railway officials of Bhavnagar division have expressed their inability to reduce speed of the trains. "We did discuss the problem with them but they said that reducing trains' speed will result in the schedule of many trains going haywire," said a senior forest official. According to the census of 2010, there are 108 Asiatic lions in Amreli district.

 

Times of India, Delhi, Monday 12th May 2014