The newest attractions at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) Jespa,Gopa and Little Shobha came after an agonising wait. No lions had been born at the park for nearly two decades.
The cubs,who recently made their debut at the Lion Safari,were born to Shobha in September last year,a lioness brought from Bannerghatta National Park Karnataka in 2009 after the death of the parks only lioness owing to old age left two adult male lions at the park with no mates.
This experiment by forest officials to increase the lion population at the park soon brought results when Shobha mated with Badshah,one of the males.
When we knew she was pregnant,we were pleased. We made a special den for her for the breeding period,increased her diet and kept a 24-hour watch on her. Then on the night of September 21,2011,the cubs were born,the first lion cubs to be born at the park after almost 20 years, said Dr Vinaya Jangle,veterinary officer,SGNP.
The lion family at the park now boast six lions,thanks to the cubs two females and one male who have been enjoying the attention of visitors since they were released into the Lion Safari. We release them into the Safari at 10 am and take them back at 5.30 pm. They have been drawing a substantial crowd and people are excited to see them, said Jangle.
Photos: DILIP KAGDA