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  Yahoo News 19 Oct 07
Indian wildlife park loses 32 rare Asiatic lions

Yahoo News 20 Oct 07
5 rare Asiatic lions found dead in India
By R.K. MISRA, Associated Press Writer

Five rare Asiatic lions were found electrocuted Friday on the edge of western India's Gir National Park, authorities reported.

Pradeep Khanna, Gujarat state's chief wildlife warden, said the lions were killed by an electrified fence that he alleged was put up illegally by a farmer to protect crops near the sanctuary.

"The carcasses bore the marks of electrocution," Khanna said.

He said police had arrested the farmer, who faces seven years in prison if convicted of building an unauthorized fence that killed animals.

Such lions once roamed much of Asia, but only about 350 are known to remain all in Gujarat.

The lions often wander outside park boundaries to seek food and water, sometimes falling prey to poachers. The Wildlife Protection Society of India says their bones are highly prized in traditional Chinese medicine as are their claws, which are sometimes used for amulets in India.

The society said the latest deaths raised to 32 the number of the park's Asiatic lions lost this year. Eight died at the hands of poachers, six were killed by electrified fences, five died from falling into wells, one was hit by a vehicle and 12 died of unknown causes, it said.

"The Asiatic lion is one of the most critically endangered species on this planet, and this added twist of so many lions being killed by electrocution from crop protection fencing is a catastrophe," said Belinda Wright, executive director of the wildlife society.

In April, the state government announced plans to improve security at the sanctuary. It allocated $9 million to protect the lions with more guards and advanced security equipment, including closed-circuit video cameras.

The sanctuary is 115 miles south of Ahmadabad, the main city in western Gujarat state. ___ On the Net: Wildlife Protection Society of India: http://www.wpsi-india.org/wpsi/index.php

Yahoo News 19 Oct 07
Indian wildlife park loses 32 rare Asiatic lions

A total of 32 rare lions have died at a national park this year, the Wildlife Protection Society of India said Friday.

The society said five lions had recently been electrocuted, adding to a long list of deaths this year at Gir National Park in western Gujarat state.

"The Asiatic lion is one of the most critically endangered species on this planet and this added twist of so many lions being killed by electrocution... is a catastrophe", said Belinda Wright, the society's executive director.

"Preliminary information suggests that the three lionesses and two cubs were electrocuted by a crop protection fence put up by a farmer near Dhari, Amreli district, in an area adjoining Gir National Park," she said in a statement.

"This new tragedy brings the number of Gir lions that have died this year to a staggering total of 32 lions."

The society listed eight lions killed by poaching, six electrocuted, five fallen into wells, one hit by a vehicle and 12 others found dead.

The Wildlife Protection Society of India is already working closely with the enforcement authorities to curb the killing of lions by professional poachers, the society said.

The number of Asiatic lions plummeted from around 1,000 a century ago to just 20 in 1913 but the creation of the Gir sanctuary after India's independence from British colonial rule in 1947 helped revive the population.

The 1,400-square-kilometre (560-square-mile) sanctuary -- the world's only natural habitat for the lions -- was home to more than 350 lions when the latest census was carried out in 2005.

Poachers hunt in Gir for pelt, claws and body parts, which have ready markets outside India.

17 rare Asiatic lions perish in India Yahoo News 30 Apr 07
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