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BHUBANESWAR: With its existing pride of lions old and way past
breeding age, the Nandankanan Zoological Park is all set to procure two
pairs of the large cats from Karnataka’s Bannerghatta National Park.
exchange, the city zoo will send four pairs of barking deer, four Open
Billed Storks, two pairs of Jungle Cats and three four-horned antelopes
(one male, two female) to the Karnataka park.
which has received the nod of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), is likely
to be completed in a couple of weeks. The two pairs of mixedbreed lions
are expected to give a boost to Nandankanan’s plan of reviving its
fast-dwindling lion population.
Currently, it is left with just
five lions of its old population, including two male and three female.
But, all of them are 16 years and above, rendering the big cats unfit
The situation was completely reverse 20 years ago.
The zoo boasted of a pride of 54 lions so much so that housing them had
emerged a problem even though Nandankanan has a safari dedicated to the
Nandankanan gave away a number of its lions - mostly a
cross between Asiatic and African sub-species - as gifts to other zoos
because of over-crowding.
The last lion birth recorded in
Nandankanan was in 2004. Though the zoo authorities had attempted
breeding during that period, the efforts bore no fruit. In 2004-05, as
many as 10 cubs were born but none survived beyond six months -
inbreeding is believed to have weakened their gene pool.
Now with its Lion Safari - spread over 20 hectares - wearing a deserted a look, Nandaknanan is out to resurrect its population.
year, the zoo brought in a pair of Asiatic lions from Gujarat’s
Junagarh. Earlier this year, it successfully convinced the Zoological
Centre of Ramat Gan in Tel Aviv district of Israel for a pair of African
lions apart from zebras as gifts.
“The process for getting the
lions from Israel is being expdited. We are hopeful that Nandankanan
will have a sustainable lion population soon,” Zoo Director Dr Sudarshan