India’s oldest captive lioness critically ill

Nation’s oldest lioness critical

Nivedita Ganguly

‘Jinny’ was born in Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in October 1983

* Average life span of feline bred in captivity rarely exceeds 18-20 years

* Zoo also has the nation’s oldest lion Arjun

VISAKHAPATNAM: A pall of gloom has descended on the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park as the pride of the zoo and the nation’s oldest lioness Jinny is fighting for her life ever since her condition deteriorated rapidly in the last six days.

Born in October 1983 in the Vizag zoo, this 25-year-old feline is said to be the oldest surviving lioness (bred in captivity) in India.

The average life span of a feline bred in captivity rarely exceeds 18-20 years, and in the wild it is between 12 and 16 years. “The animal has well crossed its lifespan and has not been put out for day crawl for quite some time now due to its deteriorating health conditions,” zoo curator Rahul Pandey told The Hindu. Jinny has not been taking food from the last six days and is being supported by saline. The zoo also had the nation’s oldest lion Arjun that is being kept on a special diet, considering its age and fragile state of health. The zoo has a dozen of its big cat inmates, most of which are hybrid and many have past their lifespan capacity. At least three of the big cats are well into old age, including the lone puma, which is an exotic species procured from Singapore zoo, and the aged animals have deteriorating eyesight caused by cataract.

Currently, the zoo has two lions and one lioness. “We are in the process of procuring two lionesses from Tirupati zoo shortly in exchange of a male olive baboon and a red jungle fowl. Plans are also there to get one pure breed of Asiatic male lion from Hyderabad zoo,” Mr. Pandey said.

http://www.hindu.com/2008/11/27/stories/2008112758890300.htm

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