KANPUR: Four pairs of Asiatic lions at Etawah Lion Safari were made to play innovative games by a two-member team from Longleat Safari Park of the UK to build their stamina and keep them healthy.
The state government had sought expert help from Britain for better upkeep of lions at the safari after the recent death of eight big cats --three adults (a lion and two lionesses) and five cubs.
"The session was conducted by Mark Kingston and Christopher John on Monday and Tuesday and aimed at making the animals active and smart. The experts installed high wire and pole fight on the safari premises and involved the lions in various skits and games in presence of safari staff. The experts also gave tips to the forest staff on proper upkeep of lions," safari director Sanjay Srivastava told TOI.
"The two experts explained the keepers and forest staff on how skits and games can make big cats agile and flexible. In high wire, the lions were made to jump and grab the object hanging from it, while in pole fight the lions dragged the object kept on it with their claws. In this way , they not only burnt extra calories but also become agile and active," Srivastava said.
The session started on Monday and will continue till February 19.
The lion safari project of the state government has reported eight lion deaths -three adults (a lion and two lionesses) and five cubs. Four pairs of Asiatic lions were brought in for breeding between April and September 2014. One of the lioness died in October, followed by a lion on November 16 -both reportedly of heart failure.
Two of the lionesses gave birth last year -just four days apart in July.Two cubs from the first lioness died within 24 hours of their birth, and another two of three that were born four days later also died shortly after being born. The latest death was of lioness Tapasya, who had been ill and was undergoing treatment for a week before her death on January 9.