92 Asiatic lions have died in Gujarat during the previous two years, revealed the Gujarat's Minister of State for Forest and Environment Shri Govind Patel. He further mentioned that nine lions had died due to unnatural causes including falling in open wells. Out of these 92 lions 46 each died in 2011 and in 2012. A majority of these lion deaths are cubs numbering 43, followed by 29 female and the rest 20 were males.
The minister also denied that lions are moving out of the Gir forests due to paucity of water.
In the last lion census in 2010, a lion population was estimated to be 411. With close to a quarter dead - 22.62% to be precise - the lion population is in precarious condition. According to scientists, any species with a population below 500 is under threat of extinction. With Gujarat linking the lions with its pride and refusing to relocate a few lions for a second home for lions, at any moment a disaster like the one faced in Serengetti can wipe out the entire asiatic lion population.
Genetic studies have revealed that the Asiatic lions don't have much of genetic diversity as the lion population appears to have come out of a severe bottleneck even before the early 1900s when the population was down to double digits. With populism prevailing over sanity, the lions may soon be a forgotten footnote in India's history, unless the Hon'ble Supreme Court directs the Gujarat Government to relocate lions to Kuno.