Saturday, 13 September 2014

NEWSLINK: Why dozens of India's Asiatic lions are dying

7 September 2014 Last updated at 22:19

By Ankur JainBBC Hindi, Ahmedabad

Is the last abode of the Asiatic lion turning into a death trap for the big cat?

Gir in India's Gujarat state is home to Asiatic lions and has seen 256 lions dying in the past five years.

Experts say their population is at risk with the big cats making new homes in human settlements.

Once widespread in Gujarat, the lion population shrank to a mere dozen in the early 20th Century, mainly due to hunting and drought.

But Nawab Mahabat Khanji of then Junagadh state, an animal lover who kept 300 dogs as pets, banned lion hunting, and was able to preserve the big cat.

However, in the last century as the lion population started soaring, the 1,400 sq km (540 sq miles) Gir sanctuary in Junagadh state began to be too small for the animals.

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