Tuesday, September 30, 2014

You won't see big cat Jimmy at Byculla zoo anymore.

MUMBAI: Jimmy, the only big cat at the Jijamata Udyan at Byculla, has fallen sick again and has been shifted to the zoo hospital. All the other big cats have succumbed to old age or illness. Her replacement, an Asiatic lion, will take at least a year to come.

Jimmy, 14, was born at the zoo itself to Anita, who passed away three years ago, at the age of 22. She was shifted to hospital after being detected with a nerve-related problem, peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy is damage or a disease affecting the nerves which may impair sensation, movement, gland or organ function, or other aspects of health, depending on the type of nerve affected. It is a slow progression of nerve loss or damage. Common causes include systemic diseases, vitamin deficiency, traumatic injury or infection, or it may be inherited.

However, over time, the authorities realized that her hind legs do not have much muscle mass and she was unable to stand for more than half an hour. Although this has now been treated, and Jimmy is on her way to recovery, the zoo authorities said that her medication cannot be stopped.

Zoo director Anil Anjankar said, "Jimmy is a hybrid breed (African-Asiatic). She was administered nerve tonics, joint supplements and saline, and she underwent physiotherapy. There was a time when she would not eat on her own and we had to feed her pieces of chicken. However, all this was treated and she was put in a bigger enclosure. But we have realized that Jimmy cannot be cured completely. Putting her on public display will not make her feel very confident. She will also get very stressed and nervous with the public glare on her constantly."

Lions, tigers and leopards are known to attract many visitors. "We have got approval for an Asiatic lion but that will take at least another year to come," added Anjankar.

Dr Komal Raul, veterinary officer at the zoo, who is working closely on Jimmy's recovery, said she used to be very playful.

Lions generally live for 15-20 years, zoo officials said.


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