Efforts being made for mating of Asiatic Lions pairs at Lions Safari in Etawah
The Times Of India
Kanpur: Preparations are underway at Lion Safari in Etawah to provide a conducive environment for mating of two pairs of Asiatic Lions. A forest team has been sent by experts to Gir Forest in Gujarat for training. The team will learn ways to take care of cubs.
Authorities at the Lion Safari meanwhile have started making efforts to increase population of endangered species of lion. "Mating between Manan and Kumari had already taken place. Now, we are in the process of pairing Kuber and Greeshma and Gigo and Heer, the other two pairs of Asiatic Lions, and are hoping the females will mate with their resident males," said Divisional Forest Officer, Lion Safari, Etawah.
The Lion Safari authorities also exude confidence about lioness Kumari, and said they hope that the population of big cat is all set to grow by March 2015. "If Kumari gets pregnant, then we expect it to give birth to its cub in March 2015," informed a Lion Safari official further.
The news of pairing between Manan and Kumari has thrilled the state forest department, which received a major jolt after the death of Vishnu and Lakshmi (a pair of Asiatic lions) recently.
"We have started monitoring these wild cats and has asked keepers and veterinarians to be extra vigilant," informed KK Singh, director Lion Safari. Taking no chance, the Lion Safari authorities have permitted entry to the `house' only to the keepers who are monitoring each activity of the Kumari, sources in the Lion Safari said. It is a positive news for us after the death of Vishnu and Lakshmi. "During pregnancy, female moves slowly. We are tracking its movements on regular basis to confirm its pregnancy," said another forest department official.
But the authorities said that they know there's a lot that could go wrong. "Even if the birth itself goes smoothly, we do not know how lion or lioness will react to their offspring. Some lions don't react well. Keeping this in mind, we hope, the team, which has been sent to Gir Forest to learn all the hand rearing skills so that they can properly nurture them and take good care of cubs."
Listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) was once widely distributed across southwest Asia.
*Some 150.83 hectares of land in Fisher Reserve Forest area on Etawah-Gwalior National Highway was acquired and notified as lion safari in the year 2005.
*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 approved the master layout plan of the project in December 2012.
*The state government had sanctioned Rs 89 crore for the Lion Safari project and authorised the Uttar Pradesh Awas Vikas Parishad for construction and execution of the safari.
*Four pairs of Asiatic Lions have already been brought to Lucknow Zoo and Kanpur Zoo from Hyderabad zoo and Rajkot and Sakkarbaug zoos in Gujarat.
*Vishnu and Lakshmi, one of the four pairs brought from Hyderabad zoo, died recently after coming in contact with serious disease.
*June 2015 has been set as a deadline for the construction work regarding the project.