Lions in Sasan Gir, Gir National Park

Lions in Sasan Gir, Gir National Park

For an endangered species like the Asiatic lion to revive its numbers and find its place back in nature, it is important that we give these majestic cats the space they need. Keeping these animals away from the threat of humans is vital to their survival, and the last thing we need is incidents like what recently happened in Gir National Park. A group of four men on two motorcycles decided to harass a couple of lions at the national park, a protected reserve, for their own amusement. And they filmed themselves doing it. ALSO READ: This Video of a Baby rhino ‘Charging’ at a Safari Jeep is the Cutest! Also Read - Gujarat: Another Video of Bikers Chasing Lion, Lioness in Gir Surfaces; Three Arrested

The whole incident happened around half a year ago, but the video went viral only this week. In the video, the men rev their motorcycles and chase after the male and female lion. The couple and their cubs run from the loud machines in fear, but the men continue to chase after them. One man in the video can be heard telling another to go after the cub, but towards the end the man in yellow shorts tries to tell the others to stop. Also Read - Lion roars back to teach an annoying traveler that you DO NOT mess with the King of Jungle! (Watch Video)

We’re not sure how much longer the harassment continued, but we do know this: forest department officials alerted the local police. The video clearly shows the license plate number of the other motorcycle, which helped the police nab the owner pretty quickly. The motorcycle was traced to Rajkot resident Padshala Ankur, who was arrested. Further interrogation led to the arrest of the rest of the group, all residents of Babara town in Amreli, Gujarat: Vala Bhimji, Ajay Vala and Jayesh Patat. Also Read - Rare Asiatic lions caught on camera at Gir National Park! Watch video here!

Anirudh Pratap Singh, Chief Conservator of Forest, told the Ahmadabad Mirror the possible consequences of these hooligans’ actions. He said that the lions could have been mating, and the incident might instigate any of the adult lions to attack humans the next time. In other words, it put the animals’ and innocent human lives at risk. The investigation is ongoing at the moment, but the harassment of endangered species like the Asiatic lion comes under the Forest Act of 1927. Under this act, perpetrators could face up to six years of jail time.

The story of Asiatic lions is a sad one, but not unheard of. This species were once widespread across Eastern Europe and West, Central and South Asia. Less than 200 years ago, it was found in Persia, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Baluchistan and Palestine. It eventually came to India, spreading to Sind, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and even Madhya Pradesh in the early 19th century. NOW READ: How to reach Gir Forest National Park

At its peak in India, it was found in the region from Bengal in the east to the Narmada River down south. But heavy hunting by Indian rulers and Britishers, and modern threats of habitat fragmentation and poaching has led to it being an endangered species. All surviving Asiatic lions now live within the Gir National Park.