HT Live Correspondent
LUCKNOW Zoo is sad nowadays. The reason is 18-year-old lion Ramu who isn’t well these days. He may die any moment.
And that’s the cause of agony among zoo caretakers. Ramu’s end is not just a lion on the deathbead, but the end of an emotional bonding with his caretakers. His pranks always drew vistors’ attention.
Mubarak Ali, Ramu’s cartaker, says, “I have been looking after him since the time he came to the zoo. Now that he is not well I am not being able to live in peace.
He is like a family member to me. I feed him with my own hands. I visit him at night just to see if he is doing fine.” Mubarak cannot eat when Ramy doen’t have a bite. “He is more like my child,” he says. Similarly, a sweeper Chotte Lal says, “We are very attached to all the animals. In fact, we develop a mother-like bond with them while bringing them up. It hurts when an animal falls sick.”
Ramu is almost 18 years old now. He was bought to the zoo in 2001 from Kanpur. Zoo director Eva Sharma says, “Ramu has always been a very caring animal. Like all the other lions, he did stay in the shade. But, whenever he came out, he was darling of the crowds.
However, the authorities have placed a younger lion in his enclosure to keep visitors’ entertained.
Narrating an anecdote Eva Sharma adds, “Ramu was very friendly with Baby (a tigress), who stayed in the enclosure next to Ramu. Both of them got along very well and their closeness reflected in the way they interacted with each other.