Monday, September 01, 2008

Kankaria zoo asks for Asiatic lion pair


Kankaria zoo asks for Asiatic lion pair

Times of India By Kumar Manish


AHMEDABAD: After losing two Asiatic lions in the last six months due to age and medical complications, a pall of gloom had descended over Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden in the city. Now, there's reason for hope.


Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), which runs the zoo, has written to the state government asking for a pair of Asiatic lions from Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh.


Govind, a lion, and Ekta, a lioness, died at Kankaria zoo after having lived there for more than a decade. Both the animals were favourites among visitors. The zoo sees more than 20 lakh visitors annually . Ekta, who was the oldest lioness in the zoo, came to the zoo from Sakkarbaug Zoo in 1999.


Currently, there is only one pair - Ganesha and Okha - which is a crossbreed of Asiatic and African lions. Lion population in the state is dwindling - the latest census put it at 360 in the wild.


"Procurement of Asiatic lions will be for inbreeding and also educational purpose. Captive breeding has been successful in the world for a variety of species. We have the capacity and technical know-how to breed animals here too," said an AMC official. According to Central Zoo Authority of India, only Asiatic lions and tigers are allowed to breed in captivity.


"We have been intimated about AMC's request, but the final decision will be taken by the forest department. Currently , we have 18 lions in display and care centres at the zoo," a Sakkarbaug Zoo official said.


A breeding centre was established at that zoo with the objective of studying the Asiatic lion and supply pure-bred lions to various zoos in the country and abroad.

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