20 convicted for poaching Asiatic lions in their last refuge
Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com
November 6, 2008
Twenty people have been convicted for poaching Asiatic lions last year in India’s Gir National Park. The twenty individuals will spend three years in prison and be fined 10,000 Rs each.
Prosecutor, JM Sakanpara, told the Wildlife Trust of India: “The accused were arrested for poaching six Asiatic lions from Gir and illegal possession of wildlife articles. Two lion claws were recovered from the main accused Kuntar Singh and Nanaka Singh during their arrest in April last year. The hunting was reportedly carried out on March 3 and March 29 last year. They had disclosed trade in body parts as the motive for hunting.”
Lion bodies are sold in the black market to China. The bones of lions are used in traditional Chinese medicine, while its claws are made into amulets.
The Asiatic lion is a critically-endangered subspecies of the African lion. It once roamed the Middle East and Central Asia, even surviving in Macedonia and Armenia. Now, approximately 350 Asiatic lions remain in the wild, all of them in Gir National Park. There are plans to transplant some Asiatic lions to Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in India to establish a second independent population. The Asiatic lion is smaller and shaggier than its African cousin.