A video posted on WhatsApp has gone viral showing a lion on the prowl on Bengaluru streets – in Devanahalli near Kempegowda International Airport.
The footage has been taken a few days ago from a moving car which follows the lion even as the carnivore leisurely walks ahead before escaping in the darkness. The big question now is this: Is it actually a lion; a doctored video; or is it Bengaluru at all? The lion in the video certainly looks every bit a lion, and the streets resemble ones in Bengaluru, although the video is hazy.
Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) officials too have watched the video. But they doubt that any lion could be out there on Bengaluru roads. The reason they think it is impossible is that the closest place where the lion could have come from is BBP – which is situated on the diametrically opposite side of the city, with 60 kms between them.
For the lion to reach the other side of the city, it should have encountered densely populated city areas, and at least someone should have come face to face with the beast to set off a panic alarm. There would have been citywide mayhem had that happened. And certainly, it would be ridiculous to think a lion can come all the way from Gir forest of Gujarat without being spotted midway.
IFS officer and conservator of forests, Rame Gowda, said BBP has about 50 lions which are strictly accounted for.
“It is difficult for them to escape and come on Bengaluru streets. The video is hazy but it looks like an African lion, not an Asiatic lion. The latter have larger manes. The lions in Bannerghatta are mostly crossbreeds. So, they are ruled out. The same video has been circulated in Mumbai saying the lion was actually spotted at Western Express Highway near Ghodbunder Road, Thane.
However, even officials in Mumbai have denied any lion escaping from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.