His old eyes can hardly see, he looks visibly weak and keeps to his corner spot. He is not taken outside his home; is fed according to his age and also given tonics to fight the weakness. But the most important thing is that he is not left alone but gets company of youngsters of his clan once in a while.
Weak, immobile, lonely … a grandpa you think, right? We are not talking about a senior citizen human being taken care of but about a senior citizen from the cat family — a 21-year-old Asiatic lion called Ghaghas.
The National Zoological Park, popularly known as Delhi zoo, misses his loud roar that has been a regular feature for more than a dozen years. Ghaghas was brought into the Delhi zoo when he was just seven from Junagarh sanctuary under an exchange programme.
Zoo officials said the average life expectancy for a captive lion is 18-20 years and add in a lighter tone, “This fellow is well past its expiry date.”
“Visitor cannot enjoy his antics and playful frolicking along with other lions as his age does not allow him to engage in any kind of physical activity,” said a senior zoo official.
But Ghaghas is not ill or suffering with any particular ailment. But there are visible symptoms typical of an old age. For instance, with teeth getting worn out, he cannot chew. “So we feed him with boneless meat,” said Riaz Khan, zoo’s curator (education).
Ghaghas is also given tonics and other vitamin-mineral supplements for strength. There are three other male and four female Asiatic lions at the zoo.