Nagesh & Gauri: Zoo?s pride | india | Hindustan Times
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Nagesh & Gauri: Zoo?s pride

KANPUR ZOO has been selected as one of the 10 participating zoos for breeding the Asiatic Lion. The selection was made, as it is one of the best lion-keeping centres. The Kanpur Zoo has the privilege of housing lions of all three breeds -- African, hybrid and Asiatic. The other nine chosen zoos are Bhuvneshwar, Junagarh, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bhopal, Chennai, Mysore , Kolkata and Chandigarh, Zoo Director R Hemant Kumar said. He further said that the Gujarat Chief Wildlife Warden has been deputed as the Co-ordinator of Breeding of Asiatic Lion in zoos.

india Updated: Jun 19, 2006 00:21 IST

KANPUR ZOO has been selected as one of the 10 participating zoos for breeding the Asiatic Lion. The selection was made, as it is one of the best lion-keeping centres. The Kanpur Zoo has the privilege of housing lions of all three breeds -- African, hybrid and Asiatic.

The other nine chosen zoos are Bhuvneshwar, Junagarh, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bhopal, Chennai, Mysore , Kolkata and Chandigarh, Zoo Director R Hemant Kumar said. He further said that the Gujarat Chief Wildlife Warden has been deputed as the Co-ordinator of Breeding of Asiatic Lion in zoos.

Today the Zoo has a pair of Asiatic Lions –Nagesh and Gauri. According to Kumar in 2000, the zoo had acquired three lionesses Gauri, Nandini, Chitra and a male Nagesh. However, Nandini and Chitra died recently, leaving behind these two to wow visitors.

He said the policy of the government aimed at encouraging the preservation of the Asiatic Lion and cross breeding has been banned.

According to government policy of protecting Asiatic lions and to encourage their breeding, the zoo did not acquire African or hybrid lions. There were only 300 Asiatic lions in the Gir forests and about 125 lions in the different zoos, Kumar said. Tracing the history of the lion family in the zoo, he said it was on September 21,1975 that the zoo received two female lionesses, Gulbadan and Gulnar along with a male lion Shahzade from Tehran Zoo. Gulnar and Gulbadan each delivered four cubs, which were given to Lucknow, Delhi and other zoos of the country. But the whole family died by the year 1983.

In order to have lions at the zoo, efforts were made but it could get hybrid lions including a male, Sartaj and two females, Salma and Sabina, from Sholapur Municipal Zoo in December 1983. Unfortunately, Sabina died soon after her arrival here and from Sartaj and Salma, four males and two females were born between October 14,1986 to January 1,1992.