Wednesday, July 29, 2015
2 cubs born in UP CM’s pet project Etawah lion safari.
Agra: After being in news for all the wrong reasons, Etawah lion safari, the UP CM's pet project, has some good news. The Asiatic lioness, Heer, gave birth to two cubs here on Saturday. The safari had witnessed a setback after the death of two lions here last year. The birth of the cubs is also a push for the dwindling number of Asiatic lions, as only 523 of them are left in the country.
Listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) was once widely distributed across southwest Asia.
Divisional forest officer (DFO), Chambal, and in-charge of Etawah lion safari, Anil Patel, said that the lioness delivered two cubs on Saturday noon and they came to know of the births through the CCTV camera placed inside the lion's cage.
"The cubs seem to be healthy as per the CCTV footage. It will take us a day to reveal the gender of the cubs as the lioness would not allow anyone to enter her cage presently," Patel added.
The official said that another lioness, Greeshma, who is also expecting is likely to deliver in a couple of days. After the birth of the cubs, the first phase of lion breeding centre is almost completed.
In April, a team of four doctors from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, had con-firmed the suc-cess-ful mat-ing of li-ons. Three pairs of Asiatic lions — Manan & Kumari, Kuber & Greeshma, and Heer & Gigo — are living under strict observations of vet and wildlife experts in the Etawah lion safari ever since the mating period that was held in January.
"Kumari, Greeshma and Heer were shifted from their quarantine for five days each in January for a bonding period with their male counterparts Manan, Kuber and Gigo. Greeshma and Heer got pregnant, however, as it was her first attempt, Kumari could not conceive," Patel said.
UP CM Akhilesh Yadav's ambitious lion safari project in his home district, Etawah, suffered a setback following the death of lion Vishnu and lioness Lakshmi, last year. Both died due to cardio respiratory failure caused by multiple organ failure. The dead pair belonged to the Hyderabad zoo and were transported to Allen Forest and Zoological Park in Kanpur before being brought to the lion breeding centre in Etawah. The centre is part of the lion safari spread in about 1,000 acres in Fisher Forest on Etawah-Gwalior road in Etawah district.