Sunday, December 22, 2013

Two pairs of Asiatic lions arrive at Lucknow Zoo

Two pairs of Asiatic lions arrive at Lucknow Zoo
The Times of India

Lucknow Zoo will receive two pairs of Asiatic Lions from the Sakkarbag Zoo in Gujarat for the upcoming Lion Safari in Etawah. Two pairs of lions (two males and two females) are expected to arrive by Saturday under an exchange programme with Sakkarbag Zoo in Junagadh.

Sources said that by the end of January, the four Asiatic Lions would be shifted to the breeding centre at Lion Safari in Etawah.

"We have one pair each of Asiatic lions at Lucknow and Kanpur Zoos that were procured from Hyderabad and Rajkot zoos." said director Lion Safari Gurmeet Singh. With these two pairs that we are getting from Sakkarbagh Zoo in Junagadh in Gujarat, total numbers of Asiatic lions we have procured so far for Lion Safari will reach eight. "By the end of January or in the first week of February, these royal beasts would be shifted to Lion Safari in Etawah," he said.

"At present, we are focussing on the construction work at the enclosures for the wild beasts at the breeding centre, besides the erection of nearly 8 kms of outer boundary wall and setting up of a power unit and a water tank at the Lion Safari in Fisher Forest area," he added.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had visited Etawah on October 5, 2013 and took part in the last phase of the plantation drive at the Fisher Reserve Forest area where work on the Lion Safari is underway.

To give wild beasts a natural feel, nearly 1.5 lakhs saplings were planted on nearly 1,000 acres of land within the periphery of Lion Safari in Fisher Reserve Forest situated on Etawah-Gwalior national highway.

Once the facilities are in place, visitors can drive through a thoroughfare, spotting lions roaming in the safari. The safari riders will be provided caged vehicles and they will enjoy watching wild animals roaming in the open.

Meanwhile, minister of state for zoos Shiv Pratap Yadav, principal secretary, forests and environment VN Garg and principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Rupak De, had visited London Zoo and Longleat Safari Park in England where safaris are developed.

Sources said that the safari will be developed on the pattern of London's Longleat Safari Park. The state machinery plans to develop enclosures for other wild animals such as elephants, tigers, cheetahs and zebras close to it, on the lines of the London's Park.

Some 150.83 hectares of land in Fisher Reserve Forest area was acquired and notified as lion safari in 2005.

However, it was shelved by the Mayawati government in 2007. It was again revived after Samajwadi Party came back to power in March 2012. The Union ministry of environment and forests had approved the master layout plan of the project in December 2012.

The state government had sanctioned Rs 89 crores for the Lion Safari project and authorized Uttar Pradesh Awas Vikas Parishad for the construction and execution work.

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