A royal abode: Patiala zoo opens old-age home for lions

#1 Jun 8th, 2006, 11:20
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  • lonelyaztec is offline
#1
The Chhatbir Zoo in Punjab has undertaken a unique initiative and opened India's first old-age home for the king of the jungle.

Zoo officials had found that some aging lions were too weak to protect themselves from the younger lions and usually ended up underfed.

Therefore, they have decided to keep them in separate enclosures that are specially designed to give the animals lots of open, green space in an area that is off-limits for visitors.

The lions that are kept in these enclosures are at peace and get special food and medical care.

"Earlier there was concept like this. After having discussions, we decided that after the completion of particular age, we will try to keep old lions off the display exhibits," said Neeraj Gupta, Wildlife Warden, Chhatbir Zoo.

Playing god

However, these lions have not had an easy life. Like a number of other zoos across the country, in an effort to increase the lion population, the zoo authorities had bred the Asiatic lion with the African lion.

By 1998, crossbreeding at the zoo had produced over hundred lions, but a number of them died at a very young age.

The ones that survived had genetic diseases and weren't as strong as the pure bred animals.

Finally, the Chhatbir authorities transferred some of the hybrid lions and sterilized the others to preserve the gene pool.

"They are sent to other zoos depending on the availability of space. We have got more pairs from other zoos, which are good breeds," says JP Nath, a guide for the lion safari.

This case is an example of humans trying to play god and messing up. But, at Chhatbir, they are trying to make amends.

Now, there are only 24 of the crossbred lions left at the zoo, but the authorities are doing all that they can to ensure that these victims of an experiment gone wrong can die peacefully.

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#2 Jun 8th, 2006, 15:42
Aircraft Service Engineer, Astronomer & Traveller
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  • aadil is offline
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I never understood why anyone would want to cross breed any animal unless it did so on it's own in the wild!!! Even to increase the number of the breed in India it is not really worth doing so unless it is done with the same type that is the Asiatic lion from Gir. Nice to read about this new development in the Patiala Zoo.

Aadil.
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#3 Jun 8th, 2006, 22:26
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Nice article and a roaringly good idea!
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
T. S. Eliot

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