18 lions ‘arrested’ for fingerprinting to identify the man-eater

Gujarat, June 21:  Forest officials have ‘arrested’ 18 lions in a bid to find a man-eater who has killed three people in India. The mass ‘arrests’ were made after six people were savaged near Gir sanctuary.

The beasts are being detained while their paw prints and excrement are tested, with the guilty lion facing a life behind bars – in a zoo.

The mass ‘arrests’ were made after six people were savaged near Gir sanctuary in Gujarat state.

Officials believe that one dangerous lion is behind the attacks and they are holding suspects in separate cages until they find the killer.

The innocent detainees will be released back into the 545 square mile sanctuary, which is the sole home of Asiatic lions.

Gujarat’s top forest official, JA Khan, said: ‘We think we have pinpointed the guilty lion, but we are still awaiting the results of nine more animals.’

Speaking to the BBC, Wildlife expert Ruchi Dave said the ‘tests’ involved studying the pug marks and faecal matter of the lions.

‘The officials are also studying the animals’ behaviour. Man eating lions usually get aggressive at the sight of a human being,’ she said.

Other experts fear that the attacks could be due to the thriving lion population which is expanding beyond the bounds of the sanctuary.

Govind Patel, the former chief wildlife warden of Gujarat, told the Indian Express that Gir could accommodate only 270 lions, meaning that some are settling outside.

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