RAJKOT: A male lion said to be about three-year-old was found dead in Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary's north division on Wednesday morning. Forest officials have not ruled out foul play in the matter. The lion was found dead near a bridge between Isapur and Kathrota villages in Kapuran forest beat.
"Sarpanch of Isapur informed us about the lion's death. Preliminary investigation suggests that it may have died somewhere else and was dumped here to destroy evidence. The lion may also have died due to infighting. We called in a forensic science laboratory team to ascertain the cause of the lion's death. We have sent its body to Sakkarbaug Zoo for postmortem," said range forest officer P T Kaneriya.
Sources said that a part of the lion's body was in a decomposed condition. There were no pugmarks found at the spot. This has led forest officials to suspect that the animal may have died an unnatural death somewhere else and someone disposed off its body on the roadside out of fear.
"We have formed three teams to the death and they are searching for evidence around the villages to ascertain whether it died an unnatural death,'' said a senior forest official. Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary houses around 40 lions.
According to the 2010 lion census, there are 411 lions in Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Saurashtra region. More than 250 lions have died, many of them unnaturally, in the last five years.