THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Akash, one of Thiruvananthapuram zoo’s most pampered possessions, won’t walk again. The one-year-old male lion cub has been paralyzed after both its hind legs weakened irremediably.
The cub, which used to hop around jauntily, began to wobble a week ago. Two days back things worsened. Akash would try every now and then to lift himself only to collapse on the floor of the cage. He visibly writhes in pain every time he strains to stand up and play with his sister Aradhana, who is of the same age.
“He was born with defective limbs. But we never expected this to happen so suddenly. Now all we can do is administer some pain killers just to make him feel good,” a zoo official said. Although the zoo officials mulled over physiotherapy, they dismissed the idea due to the genetic nature of the defect. ”Since it is congenital there is nothing much we can do. Even physiotherapy is unlikely to produce any fruitful results,” the official added.It is learnt that a few weeks ago, the cub suffered an injury on its leg after a fall that . ”The fall might have hastened the paralysis.
We had always taken special care of Akash. We had even separated him from Aradhana for sometime and fed it separately,” another zoo official said.
The paralyzed lion cub will soon be made an off-exhibit and shifted to a separate enclosure.
The sorry fate of the cub has of course put the authorities in a serious dilemma. As per the guidelines of Central Zoo Authority, euthanasia or mercy killing is not allowed for animals in a zoo. Zoo rules, 2009, however, says that euthanasia is allowed in certain cases.
In case the authorities desist from mercy killing, it is likely that Akash will have to spend the rest of his life prone on a cage floor, without being able to stand or walk.