A sick Asiatic lion at the city zoo has left its keepers baffled. The 15-year-old lion, named Ghaghas, has been keeping to itself for the past few days, shunning the company of others of its kind. Known for his healthy appetite, Ghaghas has been shunning food and lying in a corner.
Treatment by three veterinary doctors has done nothing for the lion. “It just refuses to respond to treatment,” said Dr Panneer Selvam, Delhi zoo’s veterinary officer.
Alarmed by the recent mysterious deaths of Asiatic lions in the Gir sanctuary in Gujarat of late, zoo authorities have gone all out in trying to find what is wrong with Ghaghas.
“Asiatic lions are very important because they are a globally endangered species. We are leaving no stone unturned to get this one cured,” said D.N. Singh, director, National Zoological Park.
A few days ago, urgent help was sought from veterinary doctors in Gujarat, where Ghaghas was originally born and caught in the wild before being transferred to Delhi some years ago. “This lion was earlier at the Junagadh zoo. So we expect the veterinarians there to know more about its medical history. Also, Junagadh zoo has a long history of breeding and nurturing Asiatic lions,” Singh said.
Accordingly, Junagadh zoo’s veterinary officer Dr S. Bhua was consulted. Help was also sought from Dr R.G. Jani, reputed feline expert from Gujarat’s Anand Veterinary College. Apart from allopathic treatment, veterinarians from Gujarat have also suggested trying homeopathy on the lion.
The added caution about Ghaghas’s condition comes from the fact that in August last year, as many as six Asiatic lions, including a newborn, had died at the zoo in a span of just three days due to a viral infection.