April 2013: In February and March every year, Gujarat’s Amreli district police conducts firing practice in Khambha town, barely half a kilometre away from the Mityala Wildlife Sanctuary, home to seven Asiatic lions (as per the census conducted in 2010).
In addition, the region acts as an important corridor for larger lion populations in the district. The annual firing practice sees around 70 policemen of various ranks firing 32 rounds each day: a total of 950 cops firing no less than 30,000 rounds in the area over the course of the practice session. The sound of the gunshots is naturally distressing to the lions, which flee the region, sometimes venturing into neighbouring farms looking for livestock to hunt. “We have written to the concerned government departments to find an alternate firing range as this one is very close to the wildlife sanctuary,” Vimalsinh Rathod, a wildlife activist in Khambha told the Times of India. He hopes such activities are banned in a 10 km. periphery around the sanctuary, and that it will be declared a silent and eco-sensitive zone.
Source: Sanctuary Asia.