Pair of Lions Maul Teenage Girl to Death in Nighttime Attack

A teenage girl was mauled to death by two lions in a nighttime attack outside a village in India.

Two girls belonging to a family of migrant farm labourers left their home in Dhanfuliya village in Gujarat's Junagadh district late on Monday night to use the toilet when the lions struck.

"The girls had gone to attend nature's call in the open and they were wrapped in some dark colour shawl or blanket," Junagadh's chief conservator of forest, SK Srivastava, told The Times of India. "It appears that the lions mistook the girl for some small animal. They killed the girl and dragged the body."

The young girl, later identified as Bhavna Baria, had taken the trip with her cousin, Rekha.

File photo: A pair of lions seen at dusk as a 14-year-old girl was mauled to death by two lions in a nighttime attack outside a village in India. David Silverman/Getty

When the lions attacked, Rekha jumped into a nearby water tank and could only watch as her cousin was dragged away by the head, forest officials said.

"As the lions charged at them, Rekha jumped into a nearby water tank. However, the carnivores caught hold of the other girl, killed her, dragged her to a neighbouring farm and partially ate her body," Ushman Nanavati, deputy conservator of forests, Gir Somnath social forestry division, told The Indian Express.

Bhavna's body was dragged for up to 150 meters (164 yards) before the lions, which are believed to be three to four years old, ate her leg.

Rekha screamed for help, alerting the family and a lion tracker who all raced to the scene. However, the felines remained unfazed and did not leave the body until a team from the forest department arrived.

"Our staff reached the spot immediately and tried to rescue the girl but couldn't. They recovered her body," Nanavati said.

Villages attempted to frighten the animals away but to no avail.

"The carnivores could only be driven away only after around half an hour... By that time, the animals had eaten the lower limbs of the girl," Vanthali police constable Shailesh Sondarva said.

The forest department is currently trying to find the lions, with cages placed in the area.

"This is a very unfortunate incident and the behaviour of the two lions is very unusual. Efforts are on to cage them," Nanavati said.

According to forest officials, unless provoked, Asiatic lions rarely attack humans and deaths are extremely uncommon.

Lions have recently been spotted in the area, which is 7 miles east of Vanthali town and 12 miles from the border of Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary, with locals reporting incidents of the wild animals preying on cattle.