BENGALURU: Despite having a wide variety of animal species, Mysuru Zoo, one of the largest in the country, the zoo never did have a pure breed Asiatic lion in the last 20 years.
Though, it had four lions - three females and a male, all of them were Afro-Asiatic lion breeds and the absence of an indigenious country’s pride was always at the back of the zoo authorities minds.
Finally, the long pending wish was fulfilled on Monday evening with the arrival of Shaurya.
1500 km Long Journey
The three-year-old Asiatic lion arrived at the zoo after a tiresome and stressful road journey of 1,500 kms from Rajkot in Gujarat. The animal will be under quarantine and observation for 10 days before it will be on display for the visitors. During the quarantine period, its movement, behavior and diet will be observed 24x7 through wifi cameras fixed in its holding room.
Only the animal keeper, supervisor, RFO, veterinarian and Executive Director will be allowed to see it and nobody else.
The animal started the journey at 7.30 am on Saturday and reached Mysuru Zoo at 7.30 pm on Monday with just one stopover of a few hours at Hubballi. The lion only suffered some light scratches on its body during the 60-hour long journey, which is common during such journeys.
The Rajkot zoo veterinarian was there to ensure that the animal reached Mysuru safe.
Mysuru Zoo Executive Director K Kamala said Shaurya will be paired with Renita, a lioness brought from Junagad zoo last July for breeding of pure Asiatic lions. She said Asiatic lion is rare in Indian zoo and many zoos do not have it.
Kamala says the they got Shaurya through an animal exchange programme. The procedure began in July/August, 2016. Central Zoo Authority approved in November. Though, he could have been shifted soon after, the authorities deferred it in the wake of winter. Finally, it was decided to execute the order this month.
45 Animals in Exchange for Shaurya
The Asiatic lion is one of the few animals that have a high exchange value and the Mysuru Zoo exchanged as many as 45 animals and birds with Rajkot Zoo for it.
These include a pair of Indian gret wolf, a Himalayan black bear, 2 female hog deer, 2 male common sand boa, a pair of Alexandrine Parakeet, a pair of Lady amherst pheasant,2 pairs of Red jungle fowl, a pair of White Ibis, a pair of Rose Ringed Parakeet, 10 pairs of Budgerigar and three pairs of Java sparrow.
They will leave for Rajkot on Wednesday.