This is the first time in 10 years that Gujarat government has sent the Asiatic lions outside the state. Zoo executive director K B Markandaiah said the zoo is getting Asiatic lions after a gap of 21 years. Earlier a pair was acquired in 1989 but they could not breed and survive, he stated.
"As they have travelled about 1,800 kms, they are tired and stressed. The new environment is also a factor which has forced us to quarantine them. They will be sent to their enclosures after 2 weeks," the director stated.
The male and female are about 3 years old, he added. They are expected to breed in 6 months. The pair has been selected from the breeding pedigree of the superior genetic pool of Asiatic lions of Gujarat.
The life expectancy of these lions is 20 years and there are some 350 of them in the wild.
The Asiatic lions are highly endangered species and are found in Gir forest in Gujarat. In captivity, the Asiatic lions are found only in Delhi and Hyderabad Zoos, besides Gujarat. The Asiatic lions are smaller in size compared to African lions and the sexual maturity is attained by 3 years. The Asiatic lions have come here under an exchange programme with Sakkarbaugh Zoo in Junagadh, Gujarat.
Mysore Zoo has sent gaur, Malabar gain squirrel and birds to the Junagadh facility. It is in the process of sending Marmosets and green pheasants.