India officials ‘arrest’ 18 lions after 3 people killed

LionsForest officials in Gujarat have ‘arrested’ 18 lions over the past two months, as they search for one man-eater suspected of killing people.

The officials will test the lions’ paw prints and excrement in an attempt to identify the killer, who when found will be kept in a zoo for life, while the others will be released back into the Gir forest.

Six attacks on humans have been reported recently near the sanctuary, the only habitat of the Asiatic lion.

The arrested lions are now being held in separate cages while tests are carried out. The forest official says they think they have identified the guilty lion, but they are awaiting the test results of nine more animals.

Govind Patel, the former chief wildlife warden of Gujarat said Gir could accommodate only 270 lions, forcing some prides to settle outside the boundaries of the sanctuary.

The Supreme Court has now ruled that Gujarat must relocate some lions to other states to avoid the possibility of disease or other disaster wiping out the entire population. The State is reluctant to do so and has not yet complied with the order.