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Man Eaten by Lions While Walking Home With Family

Newsweek 7/26/2022 Robyn White
A stock photo shows a lion in the Gir National Park. Two lions from the park attacked a man while walking home. © ibrandcare/Getty A stock photo shows a lion in the Gir National Park. Two lions from the park attacked a man while walking home.

A man has been dragged away and eaten by lions in India while he was walking home with his family.

Bhaydesh Paiya, 18, had been walking home with his family in the state of Gujarat's Amreli district at the time of the attack, Indian news outlet Times Now reported.

The lions, a male and a female, jumped out at the victim from bushes and took hold of him from behind.

The predators started dragging Paiya towards a nearby mango orchard as his family members began crying for help.

"Our staff reached the spot soon but by that time, the victim had been killed. We could recover only body parts of the victim, suggesting the lions had eaten the victim," Rajdeepsinh Jhala, deputy conservator of forests told Times Now.

The body has been taken to the town of Khambha for a postmortem, the Indian Express reported. The death has been deemed accidental.

Despite lions being top predators, it is incredibly rare for them to attack humans.

The forest department attempted to round up the two lions after the incident.

Jhala told Times Now that the animals had displayed "very aggressive behavior" during attempts to "rescue them."

"After attempts to bait the two big cats failed, we tranquilized the male lion early on Sunday morning and rescued him. We have got the location of the lioness also and efforts are on to cage her," Jhala told the news outlet.

The lions came from the Gir Forest, a wildlife sanctuary. According to 2020 data, there are about 400 Asiatic lions living in the forest. It is the only natural habitat for Asiatic lions in the world.

The lions used to be abundant and widespread across the forest, however, their numbers have been shrinking because of hunting and extreme weather conditions, such as drought.

Lions are extremely territorial animals. Conservationists have argued that the Gir Forest has become overcrowded, meaning lions are straying away from the habitat. This is potentially causing them to venture into populated areas, coming into direct contact with humans.

Although attacks are rare, lions that are forced away from their habitat may display more aggressive behavior.

Lions struggling to find food may also display aggressive behavior. It is not clear whether the lions were emaciated at the time of the attack.

Newsweek has contacted the Gujarat Forest Department for comment.

The attack by the lions is not the only tragic incident involving wildlife in Amreli district recently.

Earlier in July, an elderly, blind woman was mauled to death by a leopard, which ventured into her village from the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary.

Villagers rushed to the scene after hearing the woman's cries, however, she succumbed to her injuries and died.

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