Once a star attraction of the Byculla zoo, Jimmy, the 16-year-old African-Asiatic hybrid, died early Monday morning at the Veer Jijamata Bhonsale Udyan zoo at Byculla.
“Jimmy died due to prolonged illness,” said the press note issued by the Byculla zoo. The normal life span of lion in captivity is around 18-20 years and Jimmy was 16 years and 8 months when she died,” said Dr Sanjay Tripathi, veterinarian and deputy superintendent of the zoo.
On Sunday, around 5pm, Jimmy experienced difficulty in breathing and was not able to walk properly. “The post -mortem examination will be done by the pathology department of the Bombay Veterinary College, Parel, to know the cause of death,” said Tripathi.
Jimmy was taken off display and confined to the zoo’s in-house quarantine area for several years as she is suffering from arthritis and paraplegia. Since December 2012, Jimmy was undergoing treatment for degenerative myeolopathy causing paralysis of both the hind limbs and osteoarthritis.
The last surviving big cat at the zoo, Jimmy, was also born at the Byculla zoo to African lion Amar and Asiatic lioness Anita on March 28, 1998. Jimmy was micro-chipped for ‘scientific management purposes’ in October 2010. It is mandatory for every Schedule 1 [of the The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972] captive animal has to be micro-chipped for identification, explained Tripathi.
On Monday, Jimmy’s corpse was sent to the Taxidermy Centre at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali, for preservation. “After the taxidermy is complete, Jimmy will be displayed in the proposed Taxidermy Museum at Byculla zoo,” said zoo officials.