Three lion cubs were born at the Zoological Garden, Alipore, on June 28 to six-year-old Shruti, a pure-breed Asiatic lion brought from the Hyderabad zoo in October 2017. The cubs’ father, Viswas — a 12-year-old Asiatic lion — was brought with Shruti from the same zoo.
Shruti had given birth to a cub last August. But the cub later died after being abandoned by its mother. That was the first time that a lion cub was born at the Alipore zoo since 1992.
Speaking about the triplets, member secretary of the state zoo authority V K Yadav told TOI, “The first cub was delivered around 10am. The second was born around 10.12am and the third after about 12 more minutes.”
Alipore zoo director Asish Kumar Samanta said the cubs were fine. “The last-born cub is a little weak and has been kept under observation,” he said.
The weak cub was separated from its mother on Monday. “It’s a male. This cub fed properly on June 28 and 29, but stopped taking its mother’s milk from the second half of next day. We separated it from Shruti on Monday and brought it to the zoo hospital. We are offering it baby food with colostrum, the first form of milk produced by the mammary glands of mammals after delivery,” Yadav said.
Last year, a female cub was born to Viswas and Shruti in August. But Shruti had abandoned it after keeping it with her for only about 48 hours. “At the time of birth, the cub weighed hardly 600g. It should have weighed at least 1.5kg. The cub couldn’t even drink its mother’s milk. Shruti abandoned the cub on the third day. We had separated it from the mother and tried to feed it glucose water and baby food. But that can’t replace mother’s milk. The cub died soon after,” a zoo official said.
The zoo now has four lion cubs, including the one rescued recently from Belghoria Expressway while being smuggled out of the state. Though it’s not yet clear whether it’s an Asiatic lion or an African one, zoo officials have made arrangements with the help of Zoological Survey of India to find out its origin.
“ZSI scientists have collected its DNA samples and we are waiting for the final report,” an official said.
On Shruti’s cubs, though, a senior official said that they were keeping their fingers crossed. “The cubs are now four days old and so far they are doing well. Shruti is guarding her cubs and not letting the keepers in. We are monitoring them and their mother 24×7 on CCTVs,” the official added.
Source: Times of India