Vadodara, May 29: While the lions are generally known to prey on the big-sized herbivores like deer, a forest officer posted at the Gir Sanctuary and National Park, stumbled upon a rare encounter, in which a pack of lions was seen trying to kill scaly pangolin for food, but failed to do so, due to the pangolin's unique defence.
Sandeep Kumar, Deputy Conservator of Forests at Gir Sanctuary and National Park at Sasan Gir in Junagadh district, about 300 kms from Vadodara, witnessed this phenomenon at the sanctuary, during patrolling in the sanctuary.
Talking to PTI over the phone today, Sandeep Kumar said “A pride of five sub-adult lions was trying to predate upon an Indian pangolin yesterday. In its defence, the pangolin curled itself into an armoured ball, exhibiting an enormous muscular power, which defies any ordinary attempt to unroll it.”
“To me, it was for the first time that I encountered such an amazing event of natural history, where a completely different prey was being attacked by the lions,” he added.
Sanjay Kumar said,”During the encounter, the lions repeatedly tried to unroll the pangolin, which did not give up till the end. The only sound produced by the pangolin was a loud hiss, which is usually produced when it is under stress.”
He said, “The pangolins are known as the old world scaly ant-eaters that compose the Order Pholidata which has only one genus (Manis). The most distinctive character of the Pangolin is its armour of protecting scales.”
“A similar incident occurred just 1 km away, where a lioness was seen trying to kill the pangolin, with her two cubs,” the official said. PTI