At an Indian wildlife sanctuary, a warning against selfies taken with Asiatic lions

Don’t mess with me.
Don’t mess with me.
Image: Reuters/Bernadett Szabo
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India is getting concerned by a string of fatalities involving selfie-takers. By at least one estimate, 19 of the world’s 49 known selfie-linked deaths since 2014 have occurred on the subcontinent.

Now the forest department of the western Indian state of Gujarat is advising tourists and locals against taking selfies with lions at the Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, after coming across several instances in which villagers were killed or injured by lions.

The national park is the only natural habitat of the Indian lions, also known as Asiatic lions. The forest department will soon put up “no-selfie zone” boards across the 20,000-sq-km protected sanctuary that houses around 170 lions. Breaching the order could be punishable under India’s wildlife protection act.

“The forest department has found growing trend of people risking their lives by taking selfie with lions in forest areas. They do so out of excitement to share these photos on social media platforms to garner praise,” the chief conservator of forest, wildlife crime, told The Indian Express newspaper.

Gir forest is not the first area in India to have been marked as a no-selfie zone. In February this year, India’s business capital Mumbai declared 16 no-selfie zones following a spate of accidents while people were attempting to click selfies.