Fluoride Action Network

Forest department orders study of fluorosis among lions

Source: The Times of India | October 20th, 2014 | By Himanshu Kaushik
Location: India

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat forest department has taken up a study on fluorosis among the lions in Lathi Liliya area. Anand Veterinary Institute has been entrusted with the task. The department decided to take up the study following a finding by two doctors, Dr Jalpan Rupara and Dr Purvesh Kacha.

The doctors in their report, “Ecology of Lions in Greater Gir Landscape,” had cited ailments plaguing humans and lions alike. The report revealed that in Amreli, a region with contaminated ground water, both humans and lions seem to be victims of fluorosis — a disease characterized by tooth decay and deterioration of bones and joints due to high content of fluoride in ground water.

Forest officials said that after the issue was highlighted, the department decided to carry out a study of the fluorosis in the area. The officials said that the lions are being supplied with water through tankers. “We are examining post-mortem reports of the deaths from the area, monitoring the decaying of bones and scrutinizing the number of teeth found on dead lions.”

“In case of lions, the water is supplied through tankers and no underground water is being used. If the study concludes that the lions are suffering from fluorosis, a management plan will be drawn up,” said C N Pandey, chief wildlife warden.

The doctors undertook the study in 250 sq km of Lathi Liliya area having a population of 40 lions, which threw up surprising findings.

“Out of eight lions studied, tooth decay was found in three. One lion has lost all but two of the 26 teeth, second has lost four and third has lost three. These lions were not reported to have met any accidents. This is intriguing as lions are not recorded to lose teeth in their lifetime. Minor deformities in bones were also recorded,” said Dr Jalpan Rupara, a radiologist.