A three-year-old girl was mauled to death by an Asiatic lioness at Dudhala village in Maliya tehsil of Junagadh last night, a forest official said.
The deceased has been identified as Anjali Rathod, daughter of an agricultural labourer, they said.
The girl was in the field along with her grand-mother at around 7.30 PM yesterday when all of a sudden the lioness emerged, caught the child in its jaws and dragged her to some distance, said the official.
On hearing the screams, the villagers rushed to the spot and tried to locate the child.
“They (villagers) saw the lioness leaving the child and disappearing into the nearby forest. Trekkers of forest department who spotted the blood stains over a stretch of 500 metres could not locate the big cat,” said the official.
The child, who sustained serious injuries on head and neck, was taken to a nearby hospital where doctors declared her brought dead, said Senthil Kumaran, deputy conservator of forest at Junagadh.
As per policy of the Gujarat government, compensation amount of Rs 4 lakhs was paid to the deceased girl’s father, said the official.
Following this incident, the forest department has placed a cage in the village to trap the lioness.
This village is located in Junagadh district where wildlife sanctuary houses more than 511 Asiatic lions.
“There were pug marks of a lioness near the place where the body of this child was found. Lions rarely attack human being unless teased or harassed. But leopards can kill human beings,” said the forest official.