Next month, those going for the lion safari at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) at Borivli will be able to see Little Shobha, Jespha and Gopa playing alongside their mother, Shobha.
Last September, the three cubs — two males and a female — became the first set of lion cubs to be born in the park in the last 20 years.
“The birth of the cubs was a rare and happy occasion. The morning they were born, we rushed from our homes at 5am to witness an amazing natural phenomenon,” said Vinaya Jangle, veterinary officer, SGNP.
When park officials discovered that Shobha was pregnant, they built a special den,
resembling a jungle in a secluded area next to her cage. Her diet was supplemented with calcium and tonics. After a gestation period of nearly four months, the cubs were finally born on September 22.
Now three months old, they weigh between 10 and 12 kg each, and will soon be old enough to be part of the safari. Between them, they polish off 14 kg of beef and seven kilograms of chicken daily, in addition to being fed by their mother.
Two years ago, Shobha had attacked and killed a forest guard, Harichand Gangwan, when he forgot to shut the door that separated the wild animals from the feeding area.
Seven-year-old Shobha, who was brought to SGNP in 2009 from Bannerghatta National Park, Karnataka, is the only lioness in the park. Her mate Badshah, and another male lion are the only other adult lions at SGNP.