RAJKOT: An 18-year-old farm labourer was killed by a lioness in Amreli district of Gujarat.
The mutilated body of labourer Deepak Babariya was found after a three-hour night search on Sunday. The forest department team and locals had a tough time shooing away the lioness from the body.
"Three labourers were plucking cotton in the fields till late night when the lioness suddenly attacked them. Another labourer Raghav Vegad was injured in the attack while the third, Vipul, escaped by climbing up a tree," said S V Rathod, in charge, range forest officer, Rajula, told TOI.
Forest officials have started preparations to cage the lioness and send it to Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh.
Wildlife activists said the lioness was frequently harassed by locals and chances are high that she was extremely worked up due to constant hounding. "A few days ago, a group of youths was watching this lioness near Dhareshwar village and disturbing her. The angry lioness tried to attack them and all had to climb up the mobile tower to save their lives," said sources.
This has raised serious concerns about the increasing human-animal conflict and safety of lions in the forest range. Three lions, one of them a lioness pregnant with three cubs, were run over by goods trains on Savarkundla-Rajula track.
"There are about 40 lions in this coastal belt but there is no patrolling here to control the nuisance of people who disturb the lions," said Vipul Laheri, honorary wildlife warden, Amreli.
A senior forest officer also said that the department is facing severe staff crunch. As against the sanctioned posts of eight, there are just four foresters in Rajula.