The King of Vikrampuri treated his people like his own children. He never slept without solving their problems. He was known to be a brave king. His enemies never dared to attack Vikrampuri.
The king often went hunting. Every time he killed four or five lions and was called as ‘lion king’. Life was smooth but trouble followed soon.
As the hot summer began, the country faced a new problem. Scorpions came in hoards from the forest and spoilt the crops in the fields. The farmers were helpless to do anything. The ‘ready-to- harvest’ crops were destroyed. The same thing happened the following year too.
The farmers started a vigil at night near the fields. They put up high barricades around the fields. They made loud noises and used lighted torches to scare the scorpions away. But it was of no use. Sometime during the day or night, scorpions continued to destroy the crops. The farmers had nothing to eat as all the crops were destroyed. Everyone was extremely worried and anxious about their future. The people had never experienced such a situation before.
The Prime Minister realized that unless this problem was solved, the people would continue to suffer. The country was going through a bad time. The Prime Minister went to the fields to study the intensity of the problem for a few days. Then he went to the deep forest to understand the situation there. He finally understood the reason for the problem they were facing.
The Prime Minister called on the king, ‘The problem is a small one but a difficult one. Oh! King, you are the cause of this problem,’ revealed the Prime Minister.
The King was surprised to hear that. ‘I’m responsible for the problem?’
he asked surprised. ‘How is that?’ The Prime Minister said, ‘Yes, your Majesty. When you go hunting you always kill the lions. These lions have been eating the scorpions. But now their number has decreased and the scorpions have increased in number. The number of scorpions has increased so much that there is no food available for them in the forest. That’s the reason the scorpions are damaging the crops.
‘What do we do now?’ asked the king. The minister said firmly, ‘Call for a complete ban on hunting of lions. Which means even you should stop hunting them down. Let’s launch a ‘save the lion’ campaign. Soon the problem will be solved.’
The King was duly enlightened. He issued a ban on hunting down lions and strictly followed it himself too.

Bio diversity is disappearing fast. There was a time when you could find cheetahs in the North, in Central India and in Mysore in the Deccan. They were hunted over a period of time not only for their skin but also for entertainment. Their habitat was destroyed and sadly they have become extinct today. Can you believe it? Cheetahs were last seen in the year 1949 in our country. The smaller animals which were food for the cheetahs have also decreased in number since then.
The king of Korvali, belonging to Bastar, Madhya Pradesh, used the headlights of his car to track down and hunt three cheetahs! The Bombay natural history society journal features this incident with photographs.
Lions and tigers which wandered freely all over the country have also become extinct. There are number of reasons for the extinction of an animal. Hunting and poaching is one of the main causes. The other causes are deforestation, non-availability of small animals which serve as food for the bigger ones and pollution.
We always ask the students who come for workshops on environmental education a simple question.
Will the lion suffer if there is no grass in the forest? Many answer and say, ‘No!’
What is your answer??