Gujarat has lost 46 lions and 37 cubs in the Gir forest area in the last two years, the state assembly was informed on Wednesday. All these deaths, barring one, in the protected area which is the last abode of Asiatic lions, were due to natural causes, Forest and Environment Minister Ganpat Vasava said in a written reply to a question from Jawahar Chavda (Congress).
"Twenty-four lions and 10 cubs died in 2012," he said, adding all of them were natural deaths. "In 2013, 22 lions and 27 cubs died in the Gir forest area. One of the lions died under unnatural circumstances," the minister said.
The high rate of death of cubs in 2013 and that too in natural circumstances may worry environmentalists. The Government told the House it has taken extensive steps to stop unnatural deaths of the lions.
As per the last Census conducted in 2010, there were 411 Asiatic lions in Gir.