The paw prints and excrement of the lions are being tested.

18 Gujarat lions under trial for killing 3 men will be locked up in zoo if guiltyImage for representation
news Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 15:17

In a strange development, authorities in Gujarat have captured 18 male endangered Asiatic lions of the Gir sanctuary in pursuit of a man eater among them which is suspected to have killed three men.

The Indian Express reported that out of 18 fatal attacks in the last 23 years, six incidents were reported in the last five months alone.

BBC reports that the paw prints and excrement of the lions are being tested and the culprit may be awarded a life-long zoo sentence while the others will be set free.

JA Khan, a senior officer of the state’s forest department told BBC that "We think we have pinpointed the guilty lion, but we are still awaiting the results of nine more animals.”

The 18 lions, who have been held in separate cages, were nabbed over a period of the last two months.

A Washington Post report on the same said that 400 of these lions are in the wild, the only such population outside Africa.

According to sanctuary officials, the sanctuary is only fit for accommodating 270 big cats which often lead them to come in contact with humans. Increasing human settlements and encroachment are also likely reasons for frequent man-animal conflict in the region, state the reports.

This development comes after the Supreme Court ordered the state to transfer some of its lion population to other states.

However, this is not the first time an animal has been ‘arrested’ in India as only in February a goat was released on bail after facing arrest for trespassing a senior bureaucrat's garden in Chhattisgarh.