Sunday, November 30, 2014

The moment Indian farmer grabs an injured lioness by the TAIL and pokes it with a stick 'to prove to his friend it was still alive' Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  • Cattleman found lion wounded on ground in India's Gir wildlife sanctuary
  • Realising it was hurt, they reported their find to local conservationists
  • Forestry officials could not find the animal and they called the farmer back
  • He found the lion again, grabbed its tail and poked it to prove it was alive
  • Film taken by his friend was initially mistaken for them taunting the animal 
  • But officials confirm animal was only recovered because cattlemen had contacted them 

Read more:
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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lion Safari to host a bird sanctuary too.

Apart from Asiatic Lions, visitors to Lion Safari in Etawah would also be able to watch wide variety of local birds as well as winged guests. The Samajwadi Party government is all set to develop a bird sanctuary at the safari.

Safari's director KK Singh said, "Nearly three hectares within the Fisher forest area has been identified for the project. National Chambal Sanctuary is already a home to a host of migratory birds coming from all parts of the Asiatic region. The bird sanctuary at the safari will create a natural ambience for willdlife lovers."

Winged visitors, including 'Brahmini' Duck, Rosy Pelican, Grey Leg Geese, Bar-Headed Geese and Fowler Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Common Coot, White Wagtail and Yellow Wagtail, make the region their home every year, so it was only logical for the government to create a safe environment for the avians, he said.

Talking to TOI, Chambal's divisional forest officer (DFO) Anil Patel said, "We have already sent the proposal to Central Zoo Authority (CZA) through senior state forest authorities and, if all goes well, this would be one of the best bird sanctuary in the state," said Patel.

"A major plantation drive was carried out in Lion Safari. After acquiring full growth, the plants would provide shelter to local as well as migratory birds. We have decided to place artificial nests on the trees to attract avians," said another senior forest department official.

He said a team is already working to identify feasible spots to create artificial ponds to attract winged guests from October to March. "We are in the process of collecting data on migratory birds so that we can customise the area to suit requirements of winged guests. Famous ornithologists would also be brought to treat the birds and study their nesting, breeding and feeding habits." he further said.

The team would take steps for installation of sign-boards stating the importance of local and migratory birds in the region.

Inquiry ordered into allegations of cruelty to sick lioness in Gir forest.

Last Updated: Monday, November 24, 2014 - 21:24

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Forest Department has initiated an inquiry into an alleged incident of cruelty to a sick and helpless lioness by an unidentified man in Gir forest in the state, which is home to more than 400 Asiatic lions.
A video clip which went viral through WhatsApp and other social media platforms a few days ago had raised the eyebrows of many animal lovers.
In this three-minute clip, a young man with a stick in his hand is shown getting close to a sleeping lioness in forest, which appears to be the Gir forest.
The clip showed the man first trying to wake up the lioness by prodding her with the stick.
However, after the lioness didn't respond, he pulled her tail several times, which angered the lioness.
It appeared that the lioness was sick, since she failed to even stand up on her feet despite repeated provocations by the man.
Since the clip was labelled as cruelty to wild animals in social media, the Gujarat state forest department took cognisance of the matter and initiated an inquiry.
It has been claimed that the clip was shot in the Gir forest near Dhari range of Amreli district, though a primary investigation seems to suggest that the man in the video clip was actually helping forest officials identify such sick animals in deep pockets of the forest.
"We learned that the person shown in the clip is a local living in Gir forest. If you look carefully, he actually took forest officials to that lioness suffering from disease. To find out what has happened to her, he lifted her tail and prodded her with a stick," Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF-Wildlife) R L Meena said, refuting the 'cruelty' angle as claimed on social media platforms.
Since it has been claimed that the clip was shot in the Dhari range in the eastern part of Gir forest, the Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF-East Gir) Anshuman Sharma has begun an inquiry to find out the truth.
"There are many locals in the forest who help forest officials. It seems that the video was shot an year back. To find out the truth behind allegations of cruelty, we have begun an inquiry. By tomorrow, the picture will be clear," Sharma said.

Maldharis who shot lioness video helped rescue it, say Gir forest officials.

Maldharis who shot lioness video helped rescue it, say Gir forest officials.
Express News Service | Rajkot | Posted: November 25, 2014 1:32 am
A DAY after a video showing a man “teasing” a lioness went viral on social media, the Gujarat forest department said it was no mischief and was shot by two maldharis (herdsmen) who had helped forest officers track the carnivore.
“The video was shot by two maldharis on December 30, 2013 in Jasadhar range of Gir East division. They found the animal paralysed. While one of them tried to assess the its weakness by touching its tail, the other one shot the action on his cellphone. They informed forest officers and the lioness was taken to Jasadhar Animal Care centre late that evening,” chief conservator of forests in Junagadh wildlife circle R L Meena said, adding that media had misunderstood the clipping.
In his report to higher authorities, Anshuman Sharma, deputy conservator of forests of Gir East division, identified the two maldharis as Kanu Vala and Shiva Lakhantra. The report said that Vala found the lioness in Tarbheti Taliya area of the forest and concluded that it was ill. He informed his uncle Lakhantra, who contacted forest officers. However, a trackers party from Jasadhar could not locate the big cat, the report states.
“In the evening, Vala took Lakhantra to the spot where the lioness had been lying. They found the lioness at the same spot. Lakhantra went closer to the lioness and checked with it with his stick. To assess its condition, he lifted its tail. Vala shot all this on his cellphone,” Sharma said, referring to Vala’s statement.
After local dailies reported on the video, state forests Minister Mangubhai Patel ordered an inquiry and sought a report within three days.
The DCF has forwarded his report to the state’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and a copy of the same is available with The Indian Express.
- See more at:

Personal Journey: Face to face with the king: The elusive lion strikes the pose.

To most people, lions are symbolic of Africa. However, in one forest on another continent, the Asian lion has made its last stand. Once upon a time, lions roamed in large numbers across a vast swath of Europe and Asia. But hunting and habitat destruction have greatly reduced their numbers. Gir Forest National Park in the state of Gujarat, India, is the last stronghold of the Asian lion. There are only about 200 left in the wild. On a trip to India in January, I decided to visit Gir to see these elusive Asian lions and the deer, wild boars, monkeys, and peacocks that inhabit the forest.
I traveled by car from Ahmedabad, the former capital of Gujarat, and stayed in a hotel on the outskirts of the forest. The evening was spent talking to the inhabitants of the local village and making arrangements for a safari the following day.
Very early in the morning, when the animals are active, I entered the forest in an open Jeep with a driver and a forest guide. It was still dark with a gentle cool breeze. Scent travels far under such conditions, ideal for lions to locate their prey. There was no sound except that of the Jeep engine and the indescribable background noise of the jungle. Every rustle would set our hearts racing.
Gradually, the inky darkness yielded to a glorious dawn. Shafts of golden sunlight filtered through the jungle canopy and lit up patches of the forest floor covered with dry brown leaves. Our ears and eyes strained to catch sound or sight of the lions. After some driving on jungle tracks, we heard muffled roars in the distance. We stopped and listened, senses stretched to the breaking point, trying to gauge the direction and distance of the roars.


'Fear of extinction of Asiatic lions from Gir not scientific'.

Last Updated at 16:00 IST
MP Parimal Nathwani said here that scientific facts do not support the fear of extinction of Asiatic lions from Gir national park in and emphasised on the need to create awareness among stakeholders in this regard.

Addressing a gathering of activists and students at a wild life photography exhibition held yesterday, Nathwani said people and the state government are opposed to the idea of translocating some Asiatic lions from Gir forest (in Somnath district) to Kuno wild life sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

Supreme in April 2013 had ruled that some lions in the Gir forest be shifted to Kuno wild life sanctuary in MP within six months.

"The apex court and Centre's fears, that a second home is needed to save Asiatic lions from extinction, were not supported by scientific proof. Kuno is not suitable for Gir lions owing to presence of tigers there, its eco-climate is different from that of Gir forest," he said.

The MP said that there were 25 tigers in Kuno forest at one time but in July 2009, there was no significant tiger population.

Translocation of lions from Gir will cause an irreparable damage to the sociology of lions in the state, he added.

He also said the Kuno sanctuary has witnessed a rise in number of incidences of poaching in the recent past and claimed that there are more than 400 gun-licence holders in the region.

The Gir national forest park is boasted as the pride of Gujarat which is the only natural habitat of the Asiatic lions.

How safe are Etawah safari lions?

After reports that lion Vishnu died of canine distemper in Etawah safari, threat of this viral disease also looms over the six Asiatic lions housed on the sprawling safari campus.

Although senior sate forest officials claim that the area where Vishnu and Lakshmi had been quarantined and treated has been disinfected and necessary precautions taken to prevent the spread of the disease, experts said, "The threat of the virus does not completely end if it makes its reach in a particular area."

A senior forest department official revealed that only after a few days of treatment of the lion and lioness ailing with paralysis, veterinarians had come to know that it was none other than the canine distemper disease due to the symptoms that the two showed. But, this fact could never be accepted till the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly submitted its initial report. For face saving, it was officially said that the lions were infected with some unknown viral disease but the veterinarians who were successful in diagnosing the disease through its symptoms gave all possible medication to save the animals, the official added preferring anonymity.

An expert said canine distemper can spread through air and body fluids in animals and according to documented facts, it can affect other animals surrounding susceptible hosts. The disease has been reported to spread from as far as 32 kms from an affected animal to another. It is mainly a dogs' disease which spreads easily in the felines (cat family) including lions and tigers. Going by the logic, the lions at the safari are at risk and should be screened properly, he claimed.

However, principal chief conservator of forests Rupak De denied that the remaining lions can contract the disease. "As soon as Vishnu and Lakshmi displayed signs of paralysis, they were segregated and hospitalised for treatment. Also, all necessary precautions had been taken."

But the fact is that the ailing lions were treated on the same safari campus where the six other lions had been housed, keeps the bomb ticking.

According to official sources, immediately after the death of the lion Vishnu, the area where he had been quarantined was disinfected. The exercise is still in progress, realising the fact that lion safari is a major project of the state government and to prevent other lions from the deadly disease.

A top forest official said on condition of anonymity that the cell in which Vishnu lived has been sanitised properly and now the process has come to an end. He said that the veterinarians treating the lions were also not allowed to go towards the breeding centre where six other lions were housed. "All necessary precautions have been taken as a standard procedure. Also, the six lions are hale and hearty and have adapted to the safari environment," he added.

Interestingly, the thickly populated surrounding area of the safari is home to a large number of dogs and this has been one of the reasons for the spread of canine distemper in the lions. Though forest department officials told TOI that the safari area is a dog-free zone, they could not deny dogs' presence outside safari.

According to the experts the death of the lions is a bad omen for the safari before its start. The death of the two lions has also reduced their already dwindling numbers. According to 2010 lion census, India is house to only 411 Asiatic lions, with Gir housing most of them. The death of the lions due to canine distemper virus is a matter of a serious concern and underlines the importance of their conservation, a veterinarian said.

Now this remains to be seen how the forest department will compensate the loss of two lions in Etawah safari. "Loss of two lions means a loss. This cannot be compensated with other lions. Their death means two lions now less in the total lion population which is a national loss," said Neeraj Mishra, a wildlife enthusiast.

Another ailing lion dies at Etawah.

PTI [ Updated 16 Nov 2014, 19:11:21 ]

A lion who was ailing for over a month died today due to multiple organ failure at the Lion Breeding Centre in Etawah, officials sources said. A forest department spokesman said that advice from experts from across the country and abroad was taken for the treatment of the lion, named Vishnu, who was taken ill since the last one and a half months.
Vishnu died of cardiac arrest due to multi organ dysfunction this morning, he said. It is the second feline to die at Etawah Safari.
On October 30 an ailing lioness, named Lakshmi, who was ill for past one year, died due to multi-organ failure at the breeding centre, Etawah.
The Asiatic lion pair—Lakshmi and Vishnu—sent from the Kanpur Zoo to Etawah Lion Safari in September were suffering from ‘multiple infections’, including a viral infection that led to paralysis.
Both of them were later segregated and hospitalised in the safari soon after they showed symptoms of paralysis. They were brought to Kanpur Zoo from Hyderabad in April 2013.

Lion conservation gone wrong.

Lion conservation gone wrong.

Lion cub found dead in Amreli village.

RAJKOT: An 11-month-old male lion cub was found dead in Sokhda village of Jafarabad taluka of Amreli district on Friday. Forest officials suspects infighting to be the cause of its death. Forester at Rajula Forest Range L R Vaghela said the cub was found at a farm owned by Champubhai Varu. "The marks on its body suggest that the wild cat died due to infighting," he said. Forest department has said its body for postmortem to ascertain the exact cause of death. According to lion census of 2010, there were 411 Asiatic lions in Gir forest and its nearby areas. However, in the last five years over 261 lions have died and many of them met an unnatural end. tnn

Two Lion Cubs Died in Wells in India.

By , | November 8, 2014

As a child, listening to the Panchatantra tale of the lion and the rabbit, I was quite impressed by the clever rabbit which outwitted the greedy lion and tricked it into jumping into a well. Today, however, I realize the importance of each and every species that exist in nature and their contribution to diversity and balance of the ecosystem. It is hence not joy but sadness that comes with the news of two lion cubs which inadvertently fell into open wells in two separate incidents in Gujarat and lost their lives. Asiatic Lions are an endangered species and the loss of two young lives is therefore all the more regrettable.

The first tragic incident was at Mota Pipaliya village of Mahuva taluk in Bhavnagar district; when a five-month old female cub fell into an open well. The animal died, inspite of forest department officials hurrying to rescue it. This is reportedly the first instance of a lion cub drowning in a well in the particular region. For the last 14 years, lions have settled in Mahuva’s Ranigala area having extended their territory outside the Gir sanctuary area.
The second incident occurred in Zujarpur village of Veraval taluk in Gir – Somnath district when a three-month-old male died after falling into a well. These open wells in the 1100 villages in the districts of Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar are proving to be open graves for the lions which inhabit the region.

The last lion census conducted in 2010 showed a total of 411 Asiatic lions in Gir forests and its adjoining areas. However, about 260 lions have died due to unnatural causes in the last five years; 11 of those in the Saurashtra region since January this year.
Lion facts and figures
The Asiatic Lion exists as a single isolated population in India’s Gujarat State. The endemic nature of the species puts it at risk of being wiped out entirely due to epidemics or forest fires. It has been listed as “endangered” on the IUCN red list owing to the population size. Over the past few years when the lion population was slowly increasing towards stability, the lions started expanding their territory in nearby areas surrounding the Gir protected forests and sanctuary. In recent times, lions have been killed due to other unnatural reasons such as being run over by trains passing through their territory and now by falling into wells.
Quick facts
  • Lions are the only cats that live in groups, called prides.
  • Only male lions boast manes.
  • Males defend the pride’s territory. They mark the area with urine, roar threateningly to warn intruders, and chase off animals that intrude on their kingdom; perhaps that gave them the title “King of the jungle”.
  • Female lions are the pride’s primary hunters. They often work together to prey upon large mammals.
  • After the hunt, the group effort often gives way to fights over the sharing of the kill, with cubs getting least priority. Young lions join the pride hunt only when they are about a year old.
  • If required, lions will even hunt alone, and sometimes also steal kills from hyenas or wild dogs. This article was originally written and published by Ramya Naresh, a contributing writer for For the original article and more information, please click HERE.

Vishnu’s condition deteriorates further.

KANPUR: Chances of Asiatic lion Vishnu's survival are quite bleak as its health has deteriorated further. Divisional forest officer (DFO), Chambal, Anil Patel said, "Vishnu's condition has worsened further and nothing much can be said about its recovery." A senior forest official at Lion Safari in Etawah said, "Vishnu has stopped eating and is on drip. The animal is being administered antibiotics, nervine tonics and other necessary life-saving drugs. It's condition is quite serious and survival chances bleak."

Senior veterinarian of Karnataka's Banner Ghatta Zoo Nag Raja, who arrived on Wednesday last to treat Vishnu, too has lost hope of Vishnu's survival, claimed a source. Currently, Vishnu is under the treatment of senior veterinarians, including Vikas Singh, RK Singh and Kuldeep Dwivedi, and has been kept in isolation to prevent the spread of the mysterious disease. Safari officials said that the remaining three pairs of Asiatic lions were being screened regularly to check spread of the virus. Vishnu and Lakshmi had arrived from Hyderabad Zoo.

After being housed in Allen Forest Zoo of Kanpur, the pair was shifted to the Lion Safari on September 10, this year by road resulting in injuries to them. In October, the pair suffered multiple infections and partial paralysis in the hind portion. Experts from Indian Veterinary Research Institute at Bareilly and Mathura Veterinary College were roped in for the treatment along with doctors from Kanpur and Lucknow zoos. The forest department also sought expert advice from Junagadh Zoo in Gujarat, Bear Rescue Centre at Agra and Longleat Park in London. However, on October 30, Lakshmi died following cardio-respiratory failure.

Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav too had visited the safari on October 23 to take stock of the condition of the lion pair. The Etawah Lion Safari is a dream project of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh. The project was initiated in 2005 but the work started in May 2013 following environmental clearance.

Meanwhile, divisional forest officer (DFO), Chambal, Anil Patel said that forest department officials were in touch with their Gujarat counterparts and the latter have promised to provide a pair of lions. He further said that the pair of lions was expected to arrive in December.

Watch dramatic rescue of lion on a rope after it slipped and fell into 60ft well

Watch dramatic rescue of lion on a rope after it slipped and fell into 60ft well.

Click on below link;

Zoo vet treating lions develops flu-like symptoms, relieved.

Kanpur: A Kanpur Zoo veterinarian treating the Asiatic lion pair of Lakshmi and Vishnu was relieved of his duty at Lion Safari on Tuesday after he developed flu-like symptoms. While Lakshmi died last week, Vishnu's condition has remained critical.

Sources said that Dr Mohd Nasir had not been keeping well for the last three to four days. He also developed symptoms of viral disease, including redness in eyes, mild fever and vomiting. He also suffered from weakness and infection in throat. Though he had undergone a blood test, symptoms made Dr Nasir apprehend that he could have been afflicted by the zoonotic disease of Laksmi and Vishnu.

Talking to TOI, Dr Nasir said that he also suffered from pain in hands and legs. "On the basis of symptoms like flu, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, tonsillitis, fever and throat infection, I can conclude that I am in grip of the viral disease that can be zoonotic as well. As a veterinarian I stayed close to the ailing lioness and the lion for hours and come in contact with their urine which could have infected me with the virus. My blood test report will come on Thursday. However, I am affected by a viral disease that can be canine distemper."

The 'unknown' viral disease that led to the death of lioness Lakshmi and continues to afflict Vishnu is contagious and zoonotic (disease is transferred from animals to human beings). Experts said that doctors staying in vicinity of animals afflicted by zoonotic viral disease are quite susceptible to it.

Veterinary expert Dr AK Verma said that any doctor coming in contact with an animal suffering from a zoonotic viral disease was susceptible to it. He quoted the example of Rabies, a viral disease which could be contracted by a human being from a dog, rat or any other affected animal.

He added that if lion Vishnu was suffering from canine distemper then the disease could afflict the doctor and all those staying close to the animal like keeper, sweeper etc.

It was the fear of being afflicted by the disease that forced state forest minister SP Yadav to inspect ailing Vishnu from a distance. Though the minister stayed in the safari for around two hours he kept away from the lion. However, safari director KK Singh denied any such thing. "The lion has been quarantined in a cell for treatment. It is already under stress. Our minister therefore observed the lion from a distance and did not over-burden him under stress. Besides, humans going close to animal can be carrier of germs. So going close to the animal is normally avoided," he said.

Lion rescued from well in Gujarat.

Updated: November 5, 2014 02:02 IST

Forest officials from Gujarat’s Junagadh district rescued a male Asiatic lion from a well on Monday morning, in an operation that lasted a few hours.
The 9-year-old lion strayed from his habitat and fell into a well, in Amrapur village in Maliya Hatina taluk.
“He was spotted in the well around 6 a.m. The rescue began immediately. There was water in the 60-foot-deep well. A charpoy was suspended and he climbed onto it and was rescued. The animal has been sent to the Sasan Gir animal care centre. We will have to find out his regular habitat and then release him,” Mr. Katara, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Social Forestry) of Junagadh district, told The Hindu.
The Gujarat government has a scheme to allot Rs. 8,000 per well for the construction of walls around wells.
“This particular well did not have the parapet wall. We have told the well owner to build it immediately and the monetary assistance will also be provided to him,” Mr. Katara said.
The Sasan Gir National Park is the only natural habitat of the Asiatic lion, with the protected area stretching from south east of Junagadh to south west of Amreli district.

Safari to have another pair of Asiatic lions from Gir.

The breeding centre of Lion Safari will soon get another pair of Asiatic lions from Gujarat.

The state forest department had stepped up efforts to get a pair of Asiatic lions from Gir Forest in Gujarat.

This was disclosed on Saturday by the state forest department and safari authorities. Director of Etawah Lion Safari KK Singh said : "A talk had already been initiated in this regard with the Gujarat forest department by senior officials of state. A team led by safari officials would visit Gujarat soon."
Safari authorities believe that lion Vishnu and lioness Lakshmi are offsprings of the same family. A veterinary officer said, "The immunity system of the lions of same family is quite low, so we will try to procure animals purely from the wild instead of the hybrid ones."

Lakshmi, one of the eight lions at the breeding centre in Etawah, died on Thursday.

The lioness had developed paralysis-like symptoms. Lakshmi's partner and nephew Vishnu is also showing symptoms of paralysis and undergoing treatment at the quarantine of lion safari.

Lakshmi and Vishnu brought from Hyderabad zoo, had been housed in Kanpur's Allen Forest for nearly one-and-a-half year before being shifted to Etawah on September 10.

Sources at the safari pointed out that Vishnu might be shifted to prevent other wild beasts from contracting infection.

Aman-Kumari, Heer-Raanjha and Kuber-Greeshma, the three pairs of Asiatic lions are being monitored round-the-clock by veterinarians. An exclusive breeding area had been created to house them when they arrived from Lucknow zoo to safari in the recent past.

According to wildlife activists, Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), also known as the Indian lion, is a lion subspecies that exists as a single population in Gujarat. It is listed as endangered by IUCN due its small population. The lion population has steadily increased in the Gir Forest National Park, more than doubling from a low of 180 in 1974 to 411 in April 2010, consisting of 97 adult males, 162 adult females, 75 sub-adults and 77 cubs.

"Lion Safari is being planned to create a world-class facility for the rare and endangered guests. The exhibit for lions will feature large open spaces similar to what they have in the wild and also an exclusive sprinting area for routine exercising," a forest official said.

Lioness’ death revives debate over Etawah Safari.

Lucknow: The death of lioness Lakshmi in Etawah Lion Safari has re-ignited the debate whether the terrain is fit to house lions.

The pet project of the Samajwadi Party was in a limbo for over eight years at the Centre before it got the nod in 2012. Wildlife experts had raised concerns over it saying the climate of Etawah terrain was not suitable for the royal animal.

The correspondence and meetings among three bodies concerned - Central Zoo Authority, Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and UP government -- between 2005 and 2007 had discussed the project on various points, one being the suitability of climate and terrain of Etawah for lions.

"In several of these meetings with the Central government, concern was raised over climate and terrain in Etawah not conducive for lions," said a source in MoEF.

"Lions have not been studied as much as tigers so we can not say much on impact of climate and terrain on lions or on their social requirements. This was perhaps the reason why CZA said Etawah safari should also be developed as a research centre," said a forest officer associated with the project.

Another reason behind the lioness' death could be isolation. Unlike tigers, lions are social animals. "Lions love to see men around them. Look straight into their eyes and you develop a trust with them," said an officer of Gir national park, the biggest habitat of Asiatic lions.

Lions live in a pack of 10 to 15 and hunt and eat together. The most dominant lion rules over a large territory and has maximum number of lionesses and cubs living with it. Separating lions from their pack reduces their strength and being mentally unfit makes them vulnerable to diseases. Has the same happened with Etawah safari lions?

"Scientific management of lions and a well-planned mating plan is must to rear a viable lion population because they are not into close mating," said the official. Cubs born to same mother do not mate nor do the cubs born to different mothers but brought up together as they share a sibling bond. They mate only in rare cases. "There is a need to separate male and female cubs born to same mother or brought up together as soon as they are three-year old or mature to mate," he added.

KK Singh, director of Etawah Lion Safari, said investigations are underway to ascertain the cause of lioness' death. "The report has been sent to the Central Zoo Authority. And as more reports come, we would send them to CZA," he added.

UP had brought four pairs of Asiatic lions from zoos in Gujarat and Hyderabad in 2013 for breeding centre at Etawah safari. Cubs born to the pairs were to be released in the safari for tourists. But before the project could move ahead, it has received a jolt from Lakshmi's death.

Before being released in Etawah, a lion pair was kept at Kanpur zoo and three in Lucknow zoo. "They were kept away from public glare and examined medically everyday. Even when they arrived at zoos they were were found healthy. They were fed as per the diet chart from their parent zoos," said a zoo officer.

After permission from CZA, a pair was released in Etawah in April this year. Three other pairs followed in September. Forest department officers said they had no clue how Vishnu and its companion Lakshmi, pair from Kanpur zoo, contacted the disease? Lions, for more than one and a half year of their stay in UP have lived a solitary life, in zoos as well as safari.