Gujarat CM makes it clear: Lions will not be relocated as situation is under control

New Delhi, News24 Bureau, October 8: Recently, all attention was on Gujarat's Gir forest where 23 lions had lost their lives due to canine distemper virus and protozoa infections.Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said Sunday lions in the Gir forest were safe and they would not be relocated. "The situation in Gir is under control and the lions are completely safe in the forest. The state government is sensitive and committed towards the conservation of lions in the state, and lions will not be relocated," Rupani told reporters at Bilkha in Junagadh district where the Gir forest is located.The lions, an endangered species, are being vaccinated under intensive veterinary care and as per standard protocol, officials said Sunday. CDV is considered a dangerous virus and it was blamed for wiping out 30 per cent population of African lions in East African forests. "Vaccination of segregated #Lions under intensive veterinary care as per standard protocol started. Top national & international lion experts have been consulted. Government undertaking utmost care for lion safety," said the Chief Conservator of Forest, Wildlife Junagadh, an official Twitter handle of the Junagadha district Forest Department. Rupani said the government had involved world-class experts to tackle the situation and control the spread of the deadly virus in the lions, adding their blood reports were negative. The chief minister further said the government is planning to set up of best medical facilities to treat the lions. A senior government official in Gandhinagar said only those lions which are in the forest department's captivity are being vaccinated at present.As many as 23 lions have died in the sanctuary in less than a month. Most of them have succumbed to canine distemper virus and protozoa infections, forest officials had said.Earlier in the day, the forest department started the vaccination of lions in the Gir sanctuary to protect them from a deadly virus blamed for the death of some of the big cats.