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India is Putting Some Suspected Man-Eating Lions on Trial

lions
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Officials testing to determine which lion is guilty of man eating. 

India is dealing with some suspected man-eating lions in an unique way. The suspects are going on trial and the guilty big cat may end up with a life “prison sentence” in a zoo.

It sounds crazy, but the Washington Post reports this is really what’s happening in the western India state of Gujarat. At least three people are dead and the police there have captured 18 suspected male lions in the case. They await their fate while officials determine if one is responsible.

The BBC reports there have recently been at least six different attacks on humans near a sanctuary there by the endangered Asiatic lions. The suspected killers were captured alive over the last couple months. Officials think they have their lion, but will wait on testing of paw prints and the animals’ feces in order to help determine if one of the captured animals truly is the killer.

“We think we have pinpointed the guilty lion, but we are still awaiting the results of nine more animals,” Gujarat forest official JA Khan told the BBC.

The plans are to keep the guilty big cat in a cage for the rest of its life. The rest will be released back into the wild. The Washington Post reports only about 400 Asiatic lions are estimated to be left in the wild. The attacks may be the result of human expansion encroaching on their natural habitats.

Another reason for increased conflicts may simply be because there isn’t enough room for the lions in the sanctuary. Officials estimate there is only room for 270 or so lions in the Gir sanctuary near where the attacks occurred.

The Asiatic lions of India are the only population of wild lions left in the world outside of India.

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India is Putting Some Suspected Man-Eating Lions on Trial