Intense flooding in India after the country's monsoon last month has killed 10 critically endangered Asiatic lions. Now, only 523 remain in the wild.
81 people are also confirmed to have died due to the flooding in the state of Gujarat in western Indian, reports The Independent.
Forest officials said the flooding not only killed 10 of the rare lions, but also prey animal such as 80 spotted deer and 1,670 Asian antelope. The report was submitted to the state and federal environment ministries over the weekend.
The lions were killed close to the lion sanctuary in Gir National Forest in the southern area of the Indian state. The report also said that other lions were found in "weak health and shocked condition." They were treated and managed to recover from the devastating weather.
Efforts to conserve the lions
Conservationists have long argued that the lions should not be kept in a single location, and this latest disaster will solidify their efforts.
While they argued successfully in front of the Supreme Court in 2013 for some of the lions to be relocated to another sanctuary, Gujarat officials have resisted the move.
C.N. Pandey, a top forest official in Gujarat, said that on June 26 over 10 inches of water fell near the sanctuary and turned a 40-square-mile area "into an unbroken sheet of water."
The Asiatic lion, also known as the Indian lion or Persian lion, is a lion subspecies that exists as a single population in Gujarat state.