Mumbai’s Sanjay Gandhi National Park has added a new attraction for their visitors. A pair of Asiatic lions arrived at the Park yesterday morning from Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden in Gujarat’s Junagadh under an animal exchange progamme.
This exchange was approved by the Central Zoo Authority and under it the SGNP sent a pair of tigers – Bajrang, aged 6 and Durga (3) to SZG. SGNP took the decision to acquire these two lions after its oldest captive lion, Ravindra died at the age of 17 due to age-related issues in September this year. The Park was left with only one lion called Jespa who is 11 years old.
SGNP’s officials informed that the two are being identified as D-11 and D-12. The two were born in SZG from a lioness who was captured in the forests.
The steep decline in the numbers of lions in the Park resulted in stopping of the lion safaris. That was one reason for them to approach CZA to seek permission to get new ones. With the arrival of the two new lions, they are hoping to start lion safari soon.
The lions at present are housed inside the quarantine centre before they are released into their natural habitat. Talking to India Narrative, Vijay Barabde, Range Forest Officer, Lion Safari, SGNP said: “The two who are housed in separate cages. They will be kept in the quarantine for a month.”
This is needed to enable them to adjust to the climatic conditions and the new place.
Barabde also told India Narrative that both the lions are fed fresh buffalo meat.
SGNP is spread over 12-hectare land and lion safaris were started there from 1975 becoming a major source of revenue.