A lioness and her cub at Gir. Photo: Ivy Dey/Wikimedia Commons
Junagadh: The Gujarat forest department has registered an FIR against 12 persons after a viral video showed a group of people gathered to watch an “illegal show” in which a lion is seen killing and feasting on a cow that was tied to a pole and used as a bait at a village in Gir forest of Junagath, an official said on Sunday.
As per the investigation conducted into the incident so far, this illegal show was organised at a village in Devaliya range of Gir forest on November 8, he said.
The Gir forest national park and wildlife sanctuary, also known as Sasan-Gir, is known as the “last abode” of Asiatic lions.
“We have filed an FIR against 12 unidentified persons and three persons have been detained for questioning. The action was taken on the basis of a video which shows a group of people gathered to watch an Asiatic lion kill a cow tied to a pole,” deputy conservator of forests (Junagadh), S.K. Berwal said.
“The organiser used the cow as bait to attract the lion for the illegal lion show.”
In the video, the lion is seen feasting on the carcass even as the people in the group watch it from a distance. Some of them are seen recording the show on mobile phones.
“It is a classic case of a lion show, where someone set up a bait to attact the lion. Investigation so far has revealed that the show was organised on November 8, and we are trying to determine whether the participants were also from outside. Further investigation is underway to arrest the main accused in the case,” Berwal said.
The accused persons have been booked under various sections of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, including sections pertaining to hunting (section 9), the official said.
Earlier this year, a court in Gir Somnath had sentenced six people to three years in jail for harassing an Asiatic lion by organising one such show. The video showed a man luring a lioness by dangling chicken as bait.