A lioness killed a forest guard while a lion escaped from its enclosure in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai on Tuesday evening, officials said.
The attack took place due to the alleged negligence of the forest guard as he left the door of the enclosure open during feeding time of the lions, an official said.
According to an official, Harichand Gangwan, the forest guard, had gone to feed the five lions and lionesses in the enclosure at around 6 pm but he apparently forgot to shut the trap door separating the wild animals and the feeding area.
Seizing the opportunity, one of the two lionesses rushed in and pounced on Gangwan, even as a couple of other forest guards watched in horror.
Regaining their composure, one of the guards tried to shut the trap door to prevent the other three lions from escaping. But one of them proved too fast and bolted out.
Additional armed forest guards were summoned from the national park headquarters located around two kilometres away and they tried to chase the 'killer' lioness away and collect Gangwan's body.
But the lioness, growling ferociously, refused to let go of the body for nearly an hour. The forest guards later shot a tranquilizer and immobilised her.
However, till late Tuesday they could not retrieve Gangwan's body since one lion was still at large in the national park, the official said.
The 110 sq km Sanjay Gandhi National Park is located in northern Mumbai and parts of southern Thane and is a popular haunt for tourists. It has a rich variety of wild animals including tigers and lions, over five dozen leopards, wild boars, peacocks, the flying squirrel, hyenas and the world's largest Atlas butterfly.