In just over a fortnight, second Asiatic lion, Vishnu, kept at Etawah’s Lion Safari died on Sunday morning, adding to the woes of forest department officials who continue to grope in darkness over the exact nature of the disease that had afflicted the two creatures.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s ambitious project, Lion Safari, had suffered a major blow on October 30 when lioness Lakshmi died due to cardio-respiratory failure. Both Lakshmi and Vishnu were brought to the Etawah’s upcoming breeding centre from Kanpur zoo in September. Before that, the pair of was kept at Hyderabad zoo where they had come from Gujarat.
A state government spokesperson said on Sunday Vishnu had fallen ill over one-and-a-half months ago and died of “vital organ dysfunction resulting in cardio-respiratory failure”.
While the state government maintains it had sought advice from veterinary experts from the UK’s zoo society and Born Free Foundation, forest department officials overseeing the project still do not know about the disease that has killed the two lions. Nor do they have information on possible cause of infection.
Divisional Forest Office, Chambal Division, A K Patel said they are still waiting for the report from Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) which is diagnosing Lakshmi’s disease. “They were expected to submit their report by now. We still don’t know anything about the disease that affected the lions,” Patel told The Indian Express over phone.
Patel, however, claimed the remaining six lions at the breeding centre are healthy.