Ahmedabad: A winding road through a forest at night and a desperate lion cub, chased by a car, runs for its life: A 50-second video that captures the plight of the lions of Gujarat has triggered an investigation by the forest department.
The video is apparently shot in Amreli, close to the Gir forest -- the only remaining home of the Asiatic lion. It was posted by a non-profit, so the forest department could take action.
The cellphone footage appears to have been shot by one of the occupants of the car, who is heard exhorting the driver to go faster. "Increase the speed... Hit it... Increase the speed. Shoot it. Shoot it. Won't get such a chance," he is heard saying in Gujarati.
Another voice, presumably the driver, says, "No, can't hit". The excited man reassures him. "Don't get tense. Don't worry. You increase the speed".
Lit by the headlights of the car, the cub runs faster and faster. Finally as the road forks, it takes the right, where the clip abruptly ends.
"Lost it," a frustrated voice is heard saying.
Ram Kumar, a senior forest official said they are circulating the video to "all wildlife circles in and around Gir to identify the culprits".
Gir has around 400 lions in 1400 square kilometer area. But relentless development - roads through the forest, expanding villages and illegal mining - is forcing animal-human proximity.
In May last year, a four-year-old lion had accidentally fallen into dry well in the same Amreli district. While chasing the village's grazing buffaloes, it was surprised by a group of women. As the panic stricken animal tried to flee, it fell into the dry well. It was later rescued and released in the forest.
Two months ago, people driving through Amreli on the Pipavav-Rajula highway, were greeted by the sight of a pride of lions crossing the road. Many lions have died in road and train accidents in the area.