Police have rounded up 18 male suspects wanted for the murder of three in Gujarat, an arid western Indian state.
If one is found guilty, he will be sentenced to life in prison. Or, a kind of prison at least: a zoo. The suspects are all Asiatic lions.
The species is endangered, and its population has dwindled as human settlements encroach on its remaining habitat. As that process speeds up, humans and lions are more likely to come into contact, leading to killings that go both ways. Approximately 400 Asiatic lions are left in the wild, and they are the only lion population outside of Africa. Wildlife officials in India say that Gir National Park, where almost all these lions live, can accommodate only 270 of them, leading some prides to venture outside its boundaries.