As reported across several publications, approximately 23 Asiatic lions have died in Gujarat’s Gir forest since September 12, due to the Canine Distemper virus (CDV) and Babesiosis.
While the authorities scramble and try to find a way to help these magnificent animals, ordinary citizens like you and me are going above and beyond their scope of duty, to put in an effort to save the Asiatic lion from extinction.
Here are five of them:
1. Purvesh Kacha
A registered medical practitioner, Kacha travelled 100 km from his home turf in Amreli, to Sasan, to assist the staff of the forest department in removing misconceptions about CDV and Babesiosis among local resident.
2. Jalpan Rupapara
Jalpan is also a registered medical practitioner, who travelled to Sasan along with Purvesh Kacha to help remove misconceptions about CDV. Speaking to the Times of India he said that in some villages, people were worried that CDV would spread to them, so he and Kacha carried out a mass awareness drive to quash such baseless rumours.
3. Mahendra Khuman
Khuman is the sarpanch of the Liliya village, in the Kakarach area of Gir. Taking time out from his busy schedule, he provides vital information about the health of the lions to forest officials.
4. Babu Dhola
He is the trustee of the Jab Gaushala in Gir and was the person who set off the first alarms about a disease outbreak hitting the Gir lions. Speaking to TOI, he said, “On September 10, one of my employees spotted a weak lioness. I instructed my employees to keep a watch on the 29-member pride, who were the first victims of the viral epidemic. We had accompanied forest officials in their rescue missions. However, we could save only three.”
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5. Manoj Joshi
He is a wildlife enthusiast, who was the first to inform forest authorities about Rajmata, the sick lioness who had a septic wound near her tail. Thanks to his efforts, she was treated on time. Joshi also informed the authorities that another cub went missing as well.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)