Indian zoo to get four Asiatic lions from Sri Lanka

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The Nandankanan Zoological Park at Bhubaneswar in Odisha, India will soon be getting two pairs of Asiatic lions from Sri Lanka.

A proposal in this regard has been approved by the State Government 15 days back. “We have already held talks with Sri Lanka Government in this regard. The lions will be brought as part of an animal exchange programme in which the zoo has given the option of exchanging tigers or exotic birds with the lions,” informed Nandankanan Deputy Director Jayanta Das on the sidelines of the 60th Foundation Day of the zoo on Sunday.

With the lion population of Nandankanan coming down to nine after the death of 21-year-old Pichhan on Saturday, the move is expected to help zoo authorities in reviving their population.

Efforts are on to bring the lions to the zoo as early as possible. The State Government has also given nod to a proposal of bringing a pair of African Cheetah, Wallabies and five Zebras from abroad which they had planned in July, Das said.

The zoo officials have now sought permission from India’s Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and other authorities concerned in this regard.

They have also held talks with the International Zoo Services, a consultancy group that has specialised in relocation of animals, through which the wild animals will be brought from abroad.

Bringing cheers for visitors on the Foundation Day, two rare melanistic tiger cubs, Spandan and Basu, made public debut at the zoo on Sunday.

The one-year-old cubs were born to tigress Renuka in December, 2018. Besides, three exotic primate enclosures over 281 sqmt were opened for a pair of Tufted Capuchin, Common Squirrel Monkey and one Red-hand Tamarin. A pair of Red-hand Tamarin will be procured shortly, zoo officials said.