Monday, November 30, 2009

Endangered Asian Lions Were Successfully Bred at Night Safari Zoo

Endangered Asian Lions Were Successfully Bred at Night Safari Zoo
Zoo and Aquarium Visitor By By Kumar Pillai

Singapore - It is a joyous occasion for Night Safari as its initial attempt at breeding Asian lions became a reality with the successful births of three cubs — two males and a female — in September.

The sire and dam, Khapat and Amba, arrived from India in March this year as part of an animal exchange programme. The cubs are currently housed with their mother in an off-exhibit area. Visitors will be able to see them along the tram route early next year. The Asian lion is listed as endangered under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

We are pleased that the Asian lions have adapted well at the Night Safari. This resounding success with our first attempt at breeding the endangered Asian lion brings great joy especially as the lions have only been at the park since last March. The births are in line with the zoo's objective to boost the population of endangered species, said Mr Kumar Pillai, Assistant Director, Zoology, Night Safari.

Asian lions once prowled a range that spanned from the Middle East to India. Now, only 300 or so of these magnificent animals survive in the wild, mainly in India's Gir Forest. Once royal hunting grounds, it has since been converted into a reserve where the endangered Asian lions are heavily protected. An additional 200 Asian lions live in zoos.
Currently, Night Safari has three male African and six Asian lions, which are kept separately.

The Asian lion is a unique subspecies that split from the African lion some 100,000 years ago, and is smaller in size. It also sports a smaller mane compared to its African cousin. Most Asian lions live in India's Gir Forest. Current population stands at about 350 animals, with only approximately 175 mature individuals. The Asian lion is one of three big cats found in India. Gestation period for lions is between 105 to 115 days. Lions rely heavily on livestock such as deer, antelope, gazelle, wild boar, water buffalo and livestock for their diet.

Night Safari, the world's first wildlife park for nocturnal animals is an eight-time winner of the Best Visitor Attraction Experience, awarded by Singapore Tourism Board. This internationally acclaimed leisure attraction embodies innovation and creativity in products and services, and service quality, thus attracting more than 1.1 million visitors yearly. Over 1,000 animals from 115 species (of which almost 30% are threatened) inhabit the 40-hectare park.

In line with its mission to promote biodiversity, the park focuses on the captive breeding of threatened species. Over the years, it has bred Malayan tigers, Asian elephants, fishing cats, red dholes, anoas, markhors, bantengs and Malayan tapirs, among other endangered species. A visitor's experience at Night Safari is not limited to animals but extends to experiential dining segments with the park's award winning Gourmet Safari Experience, where visitors dine onboard a tram traversing the eight geographical zones. The park can be explored either on foot via three walking trails, or by tram. Night Safari is part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore and is a designated wildlife rescue centre by the governing authority.

Night Safari is located at 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore 729826. More information can be found at

To view Night Safari Zoo's web page on Zoo and Aquarium Visitor, go to:

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