Indian cricketer Ravindra Jadeja was fined 20,000 rupees (nearly 300 francs) for taking selfies with Asian lions in a national park.
An investigation was opened in June after the publication of photos with lions by Ravindra Jadeja, which had been a hit on social networks.
He had taken them with his wife on a safari in the forest of Gir, in the state of Gujarat, the last place where the Asiatic lion still lives in freedom.
Forbidden to get out of the car
Due to an increase in attacks by felines, it is forbidden to take selfies with the lions, and it is forbidden to get out of the vehicle during the safari.
« We launched an investigation and asked Jadeja to come and testify, » said AP Singh, chief forest conservator of Gujarat state. « As he was not available, his stepfather Hardevsinh Solanki made a written statement on his behalf and paid the 20,000 rupees fine. »
In one of the photos, the 27-year-old – currently on an international tour of the West Indies with the Indian team – appears all smiles, pointing to felines resting behind him. Another photo shows him with his wife.
Some 500 individuals
The Asiatic lion is slightly smaller than the African lion.
There were a thousand individuals a century ago before its population dropped sharply to 20. The creation of the Gir Sanctuary, after India’s independence in 1947, made it possible to grow the population of Asiatic lions, the symbol of the Indian republic.
At the last census, they were 523 individuals.