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More Rare Lions Killed By Poachers

By Carolyn E. Price     Mar 30, 2007 in Environment
Forestry officials report that three more lions have been killed raising the count to a shocking six killed within the last month.
An official in India is reporting that poachers have killed three Asiatic rare lions in the animal's only natural habitat. These killings come less than one month after killing another three of the big cats.
"We are shocked. In one month six lions have been killed", said P. N. Roychoudhary, a forestry official in the western state of Gujarat.
In all six cases, the claws, skulls and bones of the lions were missing when their carcasses were found at the Gir wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat. The bones are used for traditional Chinese medicine and the claws are worn by some men as pendants in the hope of increasing their virility.
The lions in Gir are protected and bred in natural conditions. A government census taken last year showed that their numbers had risen from 327 in 2001 to 359 in 2005.
However, the animals are also facing other dangers besides poaching. Over the last five years, twenty-one Asiatic lions have drowned in Gujarat after falling into wells. This is raising concerns about how forestry officials are protecting them.
India is also struggling to save its endangered tigers, as people invade their habitat and poachers kill them for body parts that fetch huge sums on the international black market.
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