Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lions to be released in Safari.

LUCKNOW: Being home to royal bengal tigers for years, UP, at Etawah safari, will give wildlife enthusiasts a peek into the lions' den too. The pair of pure bloodline lions (crossed with only Asiatic lions) brought from zoos of Gujarat and Hyderabad will be released into Etawah safari this week.

While a pair has already been released in safari in April this year, there are three more pairs kept in Lucknow and Kanpur zoo awaiting release into the safari's breeding centre.

"We plan to do release them as soon as we get nod from CZA," said PCCF (wildlife), UP, Rupak De.
Lion safari project has two parts — breeding centre and wildlife safari for tourists. Cubs born to pairs in breeding centre will be released in safari for tourists.

Lions are happy with humans around. "This is one animal whom you can look straight into his eyes and develop a trust. Though less dominant than tigers, they are friendly unlike striped cats," said superintendent, Gir national park, Gujarat, Dr Sandip Kumar.

UP also plans to breed lions to add to existing population in zoos. But to be a lion-breeding state, it needs to have in place a mating-plan for lions and scientific management of the existing population. More so because lions are not into "close mating".

Not only that cubs born to same mother do not mate but even those born to different mothers but brought up together share a sibling bond and do not mate except in extreme cases.

"That necessitates separating male and female cubs born to same mother or brought up together as soon as they are three-year old or matured to mate," said Kumar.

Tigers are solitary while lions are social. They live in a pack of 10 to 15 and hunt and eat together. The dominant lion has a big territory and maximum number of lionesses and cubs living with it.

"There is no incident reported where lion has eaten a man," said Kumar.

Lion safari and a breeding centre will be set up on 150.83 hectare of Fisher forest area in Etawah.

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