Friday, August 28, 2015

Aslan, Heer turn crowd-pullers at Chhatbir.

CHANDIGARH: Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhatbir, is roaring back into the popularity charts, thanks to Aslan and Heer.

Crowds are swelling with each passing day to catch and snap the two cubs roll over the grass, wrestle with each other and match their paws under the watchful gaze of their mother Heli. As both parents and children watch scenes reminiscent of 1990s hit animation movie The Lion King play out in front of their eyes, they are probably unaware their treat could have been bigger. Aman and Heena, the siblings of the two cubs, were transferred to a zoo in New Delhi as repayment of loan in lieu of Abhay, the Asiatic lion who fathered the four cubs, under a loan deal programme. But residents are not complaining. On Sunday, a group of special visitors celebrated Friendship Day with the three lions.

"Certainly, there is a considerable increase in the number of visitors to the zoo safari. The kids are excited to watch the cubs play. Among those children who visited the zoo on Sunday included a few from St John's High School. They had come with their families,'' says zoo field director Manish Kumar Gandhi.

On June 28, 2014, Heli, the six-year-old Asiatic lioness, gave birth to the four cubs, an event that took place after more than 15 years in Chhatbir. After six months under observation, the cubs were released in specially created show area in February and then in the safari in May. In June, the zoo recorded its highest-ever footfall.

After the cubs were one year old, the zoo authorities shifted Aman and Heena to Delhi and made the safari a permanent home for Heli, Aslan and Heer, a move that is attracting visitors in droves. Naresh Dhiman, a resident of Sunny Enclave in Zirakpur, who is a regular at Chhatbir, brought his son along this time. "My son was thrilled to see Aslan. Initially, he never believed that animals are named. It was only after he saw the records and verified from zoo staffers that he became aware. We are happy that the zoo is returning to its glory which it had lost over the last one decade,'' says Dhiman.

No comments: