Indian cricketer Ravindra Jadeja has found himself in a storm of controversy after photos of him clicking selfies with lions during a safari in Gir forest in the western Indian state of Gujarat surfaced. According to reports, the Indian all-rounder allegedly broke forest rules by getting off the jeep safari and clicking selfies with his wife and him with the lions in the background.
The forest department has ordered an inquiry into the incident with Chief conservator of forests A P Singh confirming that Jadeja had visited Sasan Gir on 14 and 15 June.
"We have got photographs that show that he got down from his jeep and took photographs. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) J A Khan and PCCF Dinesh Mishra have taken note of this incident and have been asked to inquire into it. I have asked the Deputy Conservator of Forest Ram Ratan Nala to conduct a probe and send a report," Singh said, as quoted by the Hindustan Times.
"Gir National Park and Sanctuary is a protected forest and tourists are not allowed to get down from vehicles while inside the jungle. But pictures showing the cricketer having got down from the vehicle in the jungle having taken selfies with lions are circulating on social media."
This is not the first time the cricketer has found himself in controversy. A First Information Report (FIR) was filed against his relative Kripalsinh Jadeja, after he fired several gunshots at Jadeja's wedding. Reports indicate that since he was a VIP guest, it is unlikely that any action will be taken against him.
The Gir forest is a popular major safari destination and the only place where Asiatic lions remain in the wild. The number of Asiatic lions in Gir has risen to 523, according to a recently released census. The animals were listed among endangered species between 2000 and 2008.