23 lions have died since 12th September in Gir forest. According to officials, a deadly combination of Canine Distemper Virus and Protozoal infection is responsible for the death of at least 11 lions. The same virus was responsible for killing 1000s of lions in Tanzania. The mass deaths have jolted the government which has launched a number of measures including importing 300 shots of a vaccine from the US to protect the lions.
Canine Distemper Virus
Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) is a viral disease that infects the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and central nervous systems. Animals who have not been vaccinated for Canine Distemper are the most at-risk.
CDV can be spread through direct contact (licking, breathing air, etc.) or indirect contact, though it cannot live on surfaces for very long. Inhaling the virus is the primary method of exposure. There is no known cure for CDV, and quick response to the disease greatly improves the animal’s chances at survival.
Pride before Lives!
In 2011, former Union Environment Minister – Jairam Ramesh – showed concern over the spreading of virus and asked Narendra Modi to trans-locate lions from Gujarat to MP. Modi refused by saying that they are the pride of Gujarat and he won’t allow. And now, the lions are dying.
The laxity of the government could be easily be seen when dealing with the ecosystem. The visarjan of idols in the water bodies kills thousands of fishes and turtles. The slaughtering of goats during eid and not disposing the dead bodies causes epidemic and thousands of animals die. The kites flown during Makar Sankranti is responsible for injuring birds and burting of crackers on diwali is cause troubles for dogs. In this case, pride came before the lives of lions. If the Gujarat government had foreseen the consequences, the infection might have stopped and the deaths could have been prevented.
Aren’t we fatally disturbing our ecosystem for our merriment and pride?