Illegal Lion Shows Surge in Gir National Park, Govt Calls Them ‘Stray Incidents’

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Illegal Lion Shows Surge in Gir National Park, Govt Calls Them ‘Stray Incidents’

|Gujarat | Updated: February 27, 2024 13:15

Despite a surge in the number of illegal lion shows in Gir National Park and its surrounding areas, the state government has dismissed these as “stray incidents” in a recent House meeting.

Data shared by the state government in response to an unstarred question by Congress MLA Arvind Ladani revealed that one case of an illegal lion show was reported from Gir National Park in the financial year 2020-2021 (April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021). However, the number of such incidents escalated to a total of 12 in the year 2022-23 within the Gir National Park and its surrounding areas.

In the single incident reported in the year 2020-21, an offence was lodged against seven individuals, and the case is currently pending in court. In March 2021, seven persons, including three tourists from Ahmedabad, were convicted for participating in an illegal lion show in the Babariya range of Gir West.

During the year 2021-22, out of the five reported incidents, three offences were lodged involving six accused individuals. An advance recovery fee of Rs 82,500 was collected from them before they were granted bail. Court cases are still pending against seven accused individuals in two other offences.

In 2023, out of the 12 reported cases, an advance recovery fee amounting to Rs 1.58 lakh was collected from 31 accused individuals across nine cases. They were subsequently released on bail. Meanwhile, court proceedings are still ongoing for 10 accused individuals in three other cases.

The increasing number of illegal lion shows raises concerns about the protection of wildlife in the region. Despite the government’s dismissal of these incidents, the data suggests a growing trend that requires immediate attention and action.

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