'Human-wildlife coexistence': Lion checks out hotel in Junagadh

CCTV screen grab of a lion sauntering at the parking lot of hotel Sarovar Portico. Image courtesy: IANS

Gandhinagar: A young lion was captured on CCTV while entering the parking area of a hotel, situated in central part of Gujarat's Junagadh city, early on Wednesday and strolling around for some time before going away.

Lions entering populated places in Junagadh city is not uncommon and residents feel a sense of pride at such occurrences, as it symbolises human-wildlife coexistence.

The incident was reported from the hotel Sarovar Portico.

"The security of our hotel got alarmed when the lion made its way into the hotel parking area at around 5 a.m. Immediately, he informed the management. The big cat quickly made its way out within seconds. This happened in the early hours, so no one other than the security were present in the parking lot.... such incidents are not a rarity, the place is frequently visited by the big cats," Sanjay Koradiya, the owner of the hotel, told IANS.

"Junagadh is a place for lions. The city is not segregated place from the sanctuary. The hotel is very well close to the railway station in the central part of the city. For some unfortunate reasons, the lion seems to have got separated from its pride and it seems that the animal wanted to return to the wild. It happens once in a while. For the rest of the country, this incident might be a thing of sensation, but for the people of Junagadh, this is an occasional thing," Dr. Sunil Berwal, the Deputy Conservator of Forest, Junagadh told IANS.

"We have got a good healthy population of lions in the Gir Sanctuary and the local people are very supportive of the initiative and they don't mind the big cats' presence in the city," added Berwal.

"The lions seems to be a younger member of its pride and must have lost its way to the wild," he said.

Koradiya noted that people in Junagadh have never had experienced lions attacking them. "However, the other big cats like leopards are known to attack people in the city," he added.

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