On Saturday night, Jilu Bhukal, a Khambha resident was passing through Piplva on Chaturi road at around 12:30 am when he got suspicious on spotting some people by the roadside.
“When I inquired, a person told me he that he is from the forest department and started abusing me. I am a member of the cow protection committee and I got a tip-off about cattle being taken to slaughter house and I went for patrolling on that road. After a scuffle with the person, I immediately filed an application with Khambha police and informed the forest department. I suspect that there was lion show going on,” Bhukal alleged.
According to Bhagu Soni, wildlife activist from Khambha, illegal lion shows have become common now.
“We got information that on Saturday night, more than 200 people from different villages visited the place where a lion killed a cattle and was eating it,” Soni said.
Explaining the modus operandi, Soni said when a lion kills any cattle, the show organizers snatch the prey and drag it to some topographically higher places from where they can safely watch the lion eating its kill.
“This is absolutely illegal practice and it should stopped as it harasses lions,” Soni said.
Soni said that in some cases, dead cattle were being dragged using tractors to organize such lion shows for fun.
“We are getting regular complaints from villages. In the time of scarcity, people have abandoned their cattle in large numbers. These cattle are tied to trees near a lion’s territory and people wait for the lion to come and devour it. We have informed the forest department about this in the past too,” said Himanshu Bhatt, another wildlife lover from Savarkundla.
However, when contacted, Tulsishyam range forest officer NB Pardva denied that lion shows were being held in his area. “All accusations about lion shows near Khambha are false. As far as Saturday night’s incident, I have received the application from Jilubhai Bhukal and we will investigate this matter,” Pardva said.