Gandhinagar: The Gujarat government today admitted in the Legislative Assembly that 32 Asiatic lions died due to "unnatural causes" such as falling into wells in the last two years in and around Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in the state.
While 12 lions, including cubs, died in 2016, 20 died of unnatural causes -- in various kinds of accidents -- in 2017, Forest Minister Ganpat Vasava told the House in a written reply during the Question Hour.
Congress's Gyasuddin Shaikh had sought details of lion deaths, causes, and the government's plan to prevent deaths.
Vasava said a total of 184 lions died in and around the Gir sanctuary in the last two years -- 104 in 2016 and 80 in 2017.
Thirty-two of them died of unnatural causes (12 in 2016 and 20 last year), the Assembly was told.
The minister admitted that wells without parapet walls often become death traps for the animals who fall in and drown.
There are 27 open wells in Amreli district near the sanctuary, Vasava said, adding that parapet walls would be built around these wells "as soon as possible".
Several open wells near the sanctuary have been now secured by constructing parapet walls, he said.
Other preventive measures include construction of fences along the railway tracks passing through Amreli district and building speed breakers on roads passing from sanctuary area, said Vasava.
Incidents of lions getting mowed down by trains or vehicles on the road are often reported from the area.
As per the census of 2015, there were 523 lions in and around the Gir sanctuary, the last abode of Asiatic lions.