Just as in the film “Life of Pie”, a lion that jumped into the Arabian Sea was rescued by forest officials off the Jafrabad Port in Gujarat.
The Asiatic lion from Gir National Park that is a sanctuary, was seen initially on a rock of the ocean and when onlookers were clicking it, it soon jumped into the waters.
While fishermen soon called the forest officials, the rescuers soon plunged into action and saved the 400-lb animal from drowning to death.
The rescued animal was sent to a medical examination in an animal care centre and officials are investigating how the animal strayed from the national park, which is 20 miles from the spot.
Suspicion is building up that it could have strayed away after poachers tried to smuggle the lion via the port. There is a ban on hunting of lions but poaching incidents are equally on the rise from 411 in 2010 to 523 in 2015, according to Gujarat CM Andniben Patel. Gir forest area hosts about 40 per cent of the lions in the country.
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Reportedly, the 6-year-old lion swam a distance of 500 metres across a creek before reaching the light house on Saturday morning.
“Normally, people walk across the bridge on the creek but the lion swam 500 metre in sea water to the other side. We have rescued the lion and sent it back to the forest,” said C B Dhandhiya, range forest officer, Rajula forest range in Amreli.
There are 523 lions in the Gir sanctuary, 45 of them in Amreli area along the coast.