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3 rare lions killed in India sanctuary

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Mar. 6

NEW DELHI - Poachers killed three highly endangered Asiatic lions in their only remaining sanctuary in western India, removing their claws and bones and raising fears for the future of these rare cats, wildlife officials said Tuesday.

Rangers at the Gir National Park in the state of Gujarat found the mutilated bodies of two lionesses and a cub on Saturday deep within the park, said Bharat Pathak, the park's conservation officer.

Only some 350 of the Asiatic lions that once roamed across much of Asia from Turkey to India still exist, all of them in the Gir park.

The poachers left the pelts of the lions, taking their claws, bones and skulls — which are highly prized in traditional Chinese medicine — raising fears that a professional gang of poachers was behind the killings, said Pathak.

The department has announced a reward of $1,120 if "someone can give a clue about who killed the lions," he said.

While several of the lions have been killed in recent years, this is the first case of poaching inside the protected area. Other lions have been poached when they strayed outside the park or were killed by angry villagers after the lions took their cattle.

"This is of particular importance because it happened right inside the park," said Belinda Wright of the Wildlife Protection Society of India.

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Oh no.. humans arn't having an effect on animals at all. Extinction happens aaall the time...

>.> Yeah... but usually when an animal dies out, there's a chance of an evolutionary offshoot... at the rate humans are wiping out animals.... they don't get that chance.

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