A lion was allegedly harassed by three people in Gujarat’s Amreli district by chasing the untamed animal away from its prey, according to a forest department official.
According to a statement from the state forest department’s Shetrunji Wildlife Division, the three people, two of whom were not natives of Gujarat, were detained on Wednesday after a video of the incident that they had recorded on Tuesday and posted online went viral on social media.
The video shows some people chasing a lion through a field while perched on an excavator. Investigation revealed that the video was taken on Tuesday in the Lunsapur village in the Jafrabad taluka of the Amreli district.
According to the release, the forest department’s investigation also showed that the trio not only chased and harassed the lion but also forced it to flee from its prey.
Lion is a schedule-1 animal under the Wildlife Protection Act and such acts are prohibited by law, the forest department said.
They were detained in accordance with the pertinent Wildlife Protection Act provisions. The trio was detained, after the Jafrabad magistrate’s court denied their bail when they appeared there on Wednesday.
The incident happened a few days after three people from Rajasthan were detained for allegedly harassing lions in Gujarat’s Gir Wildlife Sanctuary by chasing them with their cars and filming them on cell phones.
The sanctuary is spread over Junagadh and Amreli districts in the Saurashtra region.
In 2021, the forest department had registered an FIR against 12 persons after a viral video showed them gathered to watch an “illegal show”, in which a lion killed and feasted on a cattle tied to a pole at a village in Gir forest.
Gujarat is the only abode of Asiatic lions. As per the 2020 census, there are 674 lions in the state, a 29 per cent rise in its population compared to the 2015 census.