Visakhapatnam became the second city to provide home to the endangered Asiatic Lions when they were brought to Indira Gandhi Zoological Park on Saturday as part of an exchange program with Sakkarbaug Zoo, Junagadh, Gujarat. The lions were brought to the city at 1:30 am via Okha-Puri express.
Zoo curator Yesoda Bai, while speaking to Yo! Vizag, said, “Two Asiatic Lions named Patvad (7-year-old male) and Maheshwari (11-year-old female), are currently quarantined for observation at the Animal Rescue Centre of the zoo. They are in good health but they will be available for display to the visitors only after the screening protocol required will be done, which will take a month.”
She further added, “The lions have come from a different environment, so it will take some time for them to adjust to the environment here. After giving them the necessary vaccination, we will have to check whether they can accommodate the environment or not. But we are happy that they are finally here and the visitors will have the opportunity to admire them. We also expect them to breed but our main aim is to create awareness about the conservation of such animals.”
Shedding light upon the care that the lions will require, Ms. Bai said that lions are group animals and once they are well adjusted, they are easier to handle as compared to tigers. The Visakhapatnam zoo is already taking care of two hybrid lions. They were brought to the city from Hyderabad and are now over 18 years.
Previously, Asiatic Lions were found only in the Gir Forest National Park area of Gujarat. But through the exchange program, Visakhapatnam has made it possible for the city residents to appreciate this endangered species. The exchange deal provides the zoo to send five wild dogs from Visakhapatnam to Gujarat. This process will start tomorrow. In the future, through more of such exchange programs, the zoo intends to bring in Zebras also in the coming month.