Hundreds of wild animals, including endangered lions, were killed after massive flash floods in India.
In late June 2015, large amounts of rain caused a rash of flash floods, which hit unprepared people and wildlife in West India. Authorities reported 55 people died and thousands more had to evacuate their homes.
The amount of wildlife killed was astounding. Officials recovered the carcasses of 1,670 blue bulls, 87 spotted deer, nine black bucks, and six wild boars since July 2.
The real shock was the deaths of at least 10 endangered Asiatic lions. There are approximately only 500 left in the wild.
The Gujarat is the last remaining sanctuary for these lions and was one of the areas hit hardest by the floods. Upon further investigation from forest department officials, the floods caused extensive damage to the lions’ habitat. The remaining lions were highly distressed and weak.
This sparked wildlife experts to question why the Indian government is so reluctant to allow the endangered lions to be relocated to a few other sanctuaries outside Gujarat. This is an ongoing and very hard-fought battle in both the legal and political systems.
“There is no way to predict the occurrence of catastrophes, which is why it is crucial to establish at least one more free-ranging population of lions before such risks manifest again, ” said Ravi Chellam, a wildlife expert who has spent time studying the lions.
Other experts argued it is not a good idea to have all of the lions in one place, because a natural disaster could wipe out the entire population. It could also promote inbreeding and the spread of disease.