Junagadh recorded 238mm of rain from 6am to 10pm on July 22, 131mm of which hit the city in just two hours. He Flash floods in Junagadh that wiped out vehicles and cattle has made the forestry department nervous.
“We have our fingers crossed. While there are fears that the missing lions may have been washed away by the flood waters, we hope the big cats have taken refuge in higher altitude areas,” said a senior official in Gandhinagar.
However, the forest’s chief conservator, Nityanand Srivastava, said: “We have just found a dead neelgai and leopard. We have not yet found a lion carcass and we are sure that all the lions are safe.”
Since Sunday morning, the state forestry department has carried out a comprehensive survey of the lions. The officials said that Girnar is a mountainous area, so it is likely that the flow of water caused casualties. “It even took the cars and that’s why we care about the animals,” an official said.
“By looking at the behavior pattern of lions during such situations, we hope that they have taken refuge in safer places. Even during Cyclone Tauktae, the department did not report any lion casualties. But then during the floods in Amreli in the past, a couple of lions had died,” said another official.
To make doubly sure that all the lions are safe, beat wardens and officers from the social forestry division have been asked to scan their areas thoroughly and record every lion they see. If they find a lion missing, they must alert guards in adjacent areas to determine if the animal has moved to another jurisdiction.