Gandhinagar: Around 139 Asiatic lions, including cubs, died in Gujarat in the last three years (2009 to 2011), the state Assembly was informed today.
In a written reply to the question of Congress MLA from Babra, Bavakubhai Nathabhai, Forest Minister Mangu Patel stated that 139 Asiatic Lions died between 2009-2011.
42, 48 and 49 lions died in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively, which included 54 cubs, Patel said.
The causes were natural death, electrocution, fall into wells, fights between lions out of territorial rivalry or for self-defence, etc. However, none of the lions was the victim of poachers in this period.
As per 2010 census, the Gir Forest Region (which extends beyond the Gir sanctuary) has 411 lions (a rise of 52 over 2005).
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has now shifted the Asiatic lions from "critically endangered species" category to "endangered species".