There’s a mystery illness that has been killing the Asiatic lions in the Gir national park forest – it was reported on October 2 that seven more of them had died while undergoing a treatment at a rescue centre. In fact, according to the Financial Express, 21 lions have died in the Gir forest since September 12.

“No lions were found dead in any other area. We have rescued 31 lions from Samardi area and have kept them in isolation. All check-ups are being done, and we are taking all preventive measures,” said the Chief Conservator of Forest(Wildlife) Junagarh to ANI.

The paper also reports that respiratory and liver issues have been highlighted as causes for death in the post-mortem reports. “Rescued lions from Sarasiya Vidi are kept under observation at the Jasadhar Rescue Centre in Gir (east) division. Their blood samples have been sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune and reports have confirmed viral infection among four lions,” said Dushyant Vasavada, the chief conservator of forests (CCF) of Junagarh wildlife circle to the Indian Express.

That’s not all, however – certain tests conducted have found “traces of a protozoa” in samples of six lions from the Sarasiya area of the Gir forests. Vasavada also told the paper that they are “importing vaccines from the United States” while Gyanendra Sinha, Principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) and head of forest force of Gujarat stated that experts have been called in from the Itawah Lion safari park in Uttar Pradesh and IVRI, Bareilly and Delhi Zoo to review the situation.