There is a rare sight to witness at Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh. Recently, five Cubs were born at Sakkarbaug zoo to lioness D22 and lion Ankolvadi. Another lioness also gave birth to five cubs. During Diwali, a lioness gave birth to three cubs. Mother and cubs are under observation and are healthy as of now but it is an exceptional sight to watch a litter of five cubs among Gir lions. The Junagadh Sakkarbaug Zoo has a topnotch conservative breeding center in Asia. A team of special veterinary doctors and the direct supervision of special officers have achieved great success in the last one month. A total of thirteen lion cubs have roared and in the next short span of time, sixteen cubs will give birth to a total of thirty nine lion cubs.
Lions are not kept together immediately as they are more likely to attack each other. The distance between them is gradually reduced. At the same time their mating period is also accurately calculated. During this period they are given nutritious food. They are also constantly monitored after the birth of the cubs.
Their weight is monitored in accordance with their growth over a period of time. Regular milk is provided to lions. The two officials responsible for the success said that more lion cubs will be born at the Sakkarbagh Zoo in December next year.
Sakkarbaug Zoo is also the co-ordinating zoo for conservation breeding of Asiatic lions programme. It is home to purebred Gir lions and also oversees Gir lion gene pool centres set up in Rampara Wildlife Sanctuary near Wankaner town in Morbi district and Baroda Wildlife Sanctuary in Porbandar.
“Total 67 cubs have been born in the zoo in the last two years. Last year, 32 births were recorded while this year, the number has gone up to 35,” said an official.
Adding that the zoo staff were monitoring the mother and cubs well, he said, “The first seven days are critical for lion cubs when their eyes remain closed and mortality rates also remain high.”
–Hitesh Joshi, Junagadh