Indian safari park wants to breed lone surviving lion

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Lioness’ honeymoon has authorities on tenterhooks

Hardik Shah, TNN 7 December 2009, 11:20pm IST

VAPI: It’s a ‘tale’ of two honeymoons. One of a lioness that never happened for curious reasons and that of Dadra and Nagar Haveli (DNH) authorities, which is about to end.

The authorities had great hopes when they set up Vasna Lion Safari seven years ago on 60 acre of land at Vasona village in DNH. Now, they are caught on the horn’s of a dilemma. Neither have they enough lions to call it a safari, nor can they close the highly ambitious project. Two Asiatic lions — Kush, Dharma and two lionesses — Sonal and Silky — were brought to the safari from Gir with the hope that their numbers would increase through breeding. However, the lions were unable to procreate and died. Lioness Silky, too, died, leaving Sonal alone in the wilderness, which have dashed the authorities plan of having a thriving safari.

The authorities, however, are not willing to give up that easily. “We have decided to bring one more lion from Junagadh zoo,” assistant conservator of forests (wildlife), DNH, Dilipsinh Mangrola said.

“We have sent many requests to Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to grant permission to bring more Asiatic lions from Junagadh to DNH. But there has been no positive response,” said deputy conservator of forests, DNH B Chaudhry.

The authorities want to bring a lion to the safari at the earliest because of CZA guidelines, which say a lone animal is not allowed in a safari for public display.

Mangrola has suggested that in the mean time, Sonal be taken for mating with an Asiatic lion in Gir. If it happens, it will end the authorities honeymoon with the proposed safari, but will kick off a bright and long-awaited one for Sonal.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/Lioness-honeymoon-has-authorities-on-tenterhooks-/articleshow/5312123.cms

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