Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ailing lioness keeps zoo staff on toes.

Bhavika Jain, Hindustan Times
May 21, 2010

The Byculla zoo staff is taking extra care of Anita, the 22-year-old lioness and oldest member of the zoo who is critically ill.
The once fierce Asiatic lioness has been ill for the last 10 days and is suffering from abscess in her rear side. She has been critical for the last three days. Anita lies pale and sallow in her cage in the hospital at the Byculla zoo, a caretaker sidles up close to her, holding her head, trying to feed her a few morsels.
The keepers and the compounder at the zoo hospital are trying give the ailing lioness company all the time, patting her on her back when she meekly sits in the corner of her cage.
The zoo staff is constantly in touch with specialist doctor from Anand Veterinary College in Gujarat.
"She was not responding to the medications. And she had also stopped eating for the last 10 days," said a zoo official.
Anita was brought to the zoo from Gujarat in 1991 when she was three years old and has now crossed her life span and outlived a lion's life span of 20 years in captivity and 15 years in the wild.
While a doctor administers saline to her, Yeshwant Khandekar, who was Anita's first caretaker, mashes food with his fingertips to feed Anita who can barely eat. "We have been in touch with Dr RG Jani, an expert, to get the best treatment," said Dr Sanjay Tripathi, veterinarian of the zoo.
Additional Municipal Commissioner, in-charge of the zoo, RA Rajeev, came to see her recently.

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