Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 14:
Animal lovers of Odisha have a reason to smile: four lions and equal number of zebras arrived here from Israel’s Tel Aviv yesterday.
Nandankanan zoological park’s Deputy Director Kamal Lochan Purohit had been camping in Mumbai since September 4 to receive the animals that came via the sea route. They were brought to the zoo in special containers.
The lions have been kept in the special feeding chambers of the lion safari while the zebras have been stationed in enclosure 34-A.
Notably, the zebra population had gone extinct in the zoo after the death of the lone surviving mare. The zoo authorities are considering breeding these zebras further.
The lion population in the zoo had also been declining steadily. While the zoo authorities had brought in a lion and a lioness from Satarbagh zoo from Gujarat’s Junagarh in March 2013, they were unable to breed. Another lion brought from Bangalore zoo in November 2014, however, recently fathered four cubs out of which one survived.
In a sad news from the zoo, 18-year old white tigress Kunti breathed her last in the zoo yesterday due to prolonged illness.
Born sick, Kunti went through the scissors for the last time two months back to get a tumor under her eyes removed by OUAT surgeons. Later, she was diagnosed with liver cancer. White Kunti was the daughter of two Royal Bengal tigers named Sagar and Laxmipriya.
Zoo authorities had left her in enclosure -18 to roam freely after she was diagnosed with cancer. She breathed her last while under medication.
With her demise, the numbers of tigers have come down to 24. While seven of them are white, rest 17 are Bengal Tigers.