Abhishek Samuel | TNN | Jan 10, 2017, 10.42 AM IST
PUNE: The lions are back in Pune's zoo. Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park (RGZP) in Katraj has been home to many a wild cat, but the roar of the king of the jungle will echo here for the first time in two decades.
Almost three years after the plan was first proposed, two Asiatic lions were transported 945km from Junagadh in Gujarat to the city. They will be in their enclosures for public viewing by the end of this week. They are the only pure-bred Asiatic lions
The pair, Tejas (male) and Subhi (female), arrived in December. However, following Central Zoo Authority (CZA) guidelines, the lion and the lioness have been quarantined. "They will be exhibited in the next 4-5 days after the quarantine period ends," an official said.
The animals suffered some minor bruises due to the arduous transit, and are being carefully treated here, officials said. The park, also known as Katraj zoo, brought the felines with Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden in Junagadh, Gujarat. "This is the only centre in the world that breeds and supplies pure-bred Asiatic lions. Over its 80 years, Sakkarbaug has provided close to 200 big cats to various zoos and parks across the country and the world," another official said. Tejas and Subhi are six years old and were born in captivity. RGZP authorities bartered four different species of exotic birds with the Junagadh zoo for the pair. The last lion in Pune was kept at Peshwe Park when the zoo was housed there where it died in 1995. The RGZP has not had a lion since it opened in 1999.
The plan to bring the lions had been delayed since November 2016 because their enclosure as prescribed by the CZA was not ready. Zoo authorities had said it could take six months to complete it and to bring the animals.