Mumbai: Forest Department seeks 2 pairs of lions and 2 tigers for SGNP

Updated: 24 September, 2020 07:37 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

SGNP field director writes to chief wildlife warden of Maharashtra; the animals will be used for safari and to boost lion and tiger population in national park

Lioness Shobha and her cub Gopa at SGNP. File pic/Nimesh Dave
Lioness Shobha and her cub Gopa at SGNP. File pic/Nimesh Dave

After sending a proposal to get a captive tiger from Nagpur's Gorewada Zoo, the SGNP authorities have sent a proposal to Chief Wildlife Warden of Maharashtra Nitin Kakodkar requesting two pair of lions for captive Lion safari and two tigers at SGNP. At present there are three lions in SGNP — a female Jespa (10) and two males Ravindra (17) and Gopa (10) and the authorities want the pair of breeding lions to increase the population of the captive lions.

Sources from Forest Department told mid-day that Chief Conservator Of Forest and SGNP Field Director Mallikarjun has written a letter to Kakodkar requesting him to provide two pairs of breeding lions for the lion safari. "We have captive Tiger and Lion safari at SGNP for which we need the animals. Last week I wrote a letter to the Chief Wildlife Warden of Maharashtra requesting him to provide us with two tigers and two pairs of lion," SGNP Field Director and CCF Mallikarjun said.

The captive tiger and lion safari at SGNP started in the 1990s and since then it has been one of the important tourist attractions for people visiting the park.

In 2017, SGNP officials had sent a proposal to various wildlife sanctuaries and zoos requesting them to provide two captive breeding lions in exchange of the rusty-spotted cats but nothing materialised.

In 2014, SGNP lost its oldest lioness, a 12-year-old Shobha. She was brought to SGNP from Bannerghatta National Park, Bengaluru in 2009 along with a male lion, Ravindra. The authorities had released Shobha and Ravindra together so they could mate. However, the two kept clawing each other and as a result, Shobha suffered severe injuries. She also suffered from gynaecological complications and eventually died in October that same year. However, two years before her death, Shobha, mated with a rescued circus lion Badshah and gave birth to three cubs of which two, Jespa and Gopa, are still alive. Her third cub, Little Shobha, died a few years ago. Badshah, one of the oldest lions in SGNP, died at the age of 17 in 2013.

No. of lions currently at SGNP

Yr SGNP lost its oldest lioness

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First Published: 24 September, 2020 06:49 IST

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