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2 tourists among 6 fined for trespassing into reserved Gir forest area to watch lions

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AMRELI, Aug 27: Two tourists and four other persons have been fined a total of Rs 1.75 lakh for
allegedly trespassing into a reserved Gir forest area to watch the Asiatic lions in their natural habitat
in Gujarat’s Amreli district, an official said on Sunday.

Of these six persons, three are locals and a hotelier who made arrangements for the tourists to
watch lions after entering the restricted area of Sarasiya range forest without permission, Deputy
Conservator of Forests (DCF), Gir East, Rajdeepsinh Zala said.
The incident came to light around three weeks back, following which three locals were caught for
helping some tourists to enter the reserved forest area illegally, Zala said.
They were fined Rs 25,000 each for the offence of trespassing under provisions of the Indian Forest
Act and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, the official said.
Following the investigation, three more persons were nabbed and fined a total Rs 1 lakh for the
offence, he said.
“These tourists entered the forest area with the help of locals to watch lions. We fined three persons
around three weeks back, and further investigation led to three more persons who were part of the
gang that entered the forest illegally,” the official said.
“When we questioned the locals caught three weeks back, they revealed a tourist and commercial
angle to the incident. This led us to two nab two tourists and a hotelier three days back and we fined
them,” he said, adding that more people are likely to be involved in the offence.
According to the 2020 census, there were 674 lions in Gujarat, a 29 per cent increase in its
population compared to the 2015 census.
The state has a total of 206 lions, 309 lionesses, 130 cubs and 29 unidentified big cats, as per the
2020 census. (PTI)

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