AHMEDABAD: Two lion cubs died within two days of their birth due to the "careless handling" by their mother in Barda Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat, a forest official said on Thursday.
The state forest department's efforts to increase the genetic diversity of the Asiatic lions has suffered a setback due to the incident.
"Under its Lion Gene Pool project to boost the genetic diversity of the big cats in Gujarat, the department has kept two lions and two lionesses at their facility in Barda Wildlife Sanctuary near Porbandar," said Chief Conservator of Forests, Junagadh Wildlife Circle, D T Vasavada.
Lioness Sarita gave birth to two cubs on April 1, which took the number of lions in the sanctuary to six.
"Although proper care was taken by the forest staff, two cubs died on the night of April 3. During the post-mortem, we found fatal wounds on the cubs. Since mother lionesses lift their cubs in their mouth, it is possible that the lioness in this case miscalculated the pressure, which could have resulted in their death," Vasavada said.
He added that such accidents happen when a lioness becomes mother for the first time and doesn't have experience of handling the cubs.