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India's endangered lion prides itself on conquering disease

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BerichtGeplaatst: 23-02-2021 11:35:43    Onderwerp: India's endangered lion prides itself on conquering disease Reageren met citaat

Three years after a deadly virus struck India's endangered Asian lions in the last remaining natural habitat, conservationists are on the hunt for new habitats to help their flawlessly flourishing pride.The majestic big cats are slightly smaller than their African cousins ​​and have skin folds on their stomachs, used to be common in Southwest Asia.Hunting and human poaching reduced the population to just 20 in 1913 and lions are now found only in wildlife sanctuaries in the western Indian state of Gujarat.After years of joint government efforts, the lion population in Gir National Park has risen to nearly 700, according to the official census last year.

But three years ago, the ทดลองเล่นสล็อตฟรี success of the conservation seemed in danger as lions began to die in part of the 1,400 square kilometers (545 square miles) forest.Canine distemper, a highly infectious disease among dozens of wild beasts,killed at least 11 of them.We picked all the lions from the area and separated them," Dushyant Waswada, the park's chief conservationist, told AFP.Authorities import special vaccines from abroad and each animal receives 3 doses followed by vaccination.Cows and dogs living near the park were also vaccinated as carriers of the virus.We successfully vaccinated the captive and controlled lions and found no new outbreaks," Vasavada said, adding that park officials are still closely monitoring their health.

- 'A very exciting experience' -

Lions are a source of Indian pride, especially in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat where humans and beasts coexist.Cattle tribe live among sanctuary animals, and it's not uncommon to see lions proudly cross highways in the region as motorists wait.The King of the Jungle is also an important attraction, as are leopards, panthers and other big cats found in the sanctuary.Each year, approximately 550,000 people visit the park in open-top jeeps as they try to spot predators prowling among the pale yellow deciduous trees.It was an exciting experience to see lions from the wild up close," said wild guide Dinesh Sadiya.But the 2018 virus outbreak is a reminder that the steady growth of animal populations cannot be taken into account.

- New address -

Lions have low genetic diversity due to their small population making them vulnerable to epidemic.A 1993 dog virus outbreak in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park killed one third of 3,000 lions.Wildlife biologist Ravi Chellam said the outbreak underscores the need to move the pride to other nearby areas.Relocation is a risk mitigation strategy similar to how we get health or life insurance," he told AFP.If anything happens to the Gir population, there will be more wild lions available for free.Chellam said the sanctuary is now too small for the steadily increasing lion population.There are too many lions for a Gir to catch ... these animals are motionless, they move outside and interact with pets and people all the time," he adds.

Efforts to move some of the lions to other states have been mired in a legal spat with the state government, which wants the animals to stay in Gujarat.
Authorities have suggested finding new homes for some of the lions in other areas of the state instead.Meanwhile, hunters keep a close eye on the wandering lions, who sometimes get lost in villages and kill livestock with the help of dozens of imported radio collars.If the lions are inactive for 48 hours, we can alert our staff," said Mohan Ram, the park's deputy forest conservationist.Tracking collars, attached around the lion's neck, help rangers monitor health and movement, reduce road and rail accidents, and reduce human-wildlife conflicts.
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