An Asiatic lion, Vishnu, died at Etawah’s Lion Safari on Sunday morning, weeks after a lioness succumbed of an undiagnosed disease there. Forest department officials are clueless regarding the exact nature of the disease that killed the two big cats.
Uttar Pradesh 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 upcoming breeding centre from Kanpur zoo in September. Before Kanpur zoo, the pair was kept at Hyderabad zoo where they had come from Gujarat.
A state government spokesperson on Sunday said Vishnu fell ill over one-and-a-half months ago and died of “cardio-respiratory failure following vital organ dysfunction”.
“While the state government continues to claim it had sought advice from veterinary experts from the UK’s zoo society and Born Free Foundation, forest officials overseeing the safari project still do not know the exact disease which killed the two Asiatic lions. Nor do they have information on the possible cause of infection.
Divisional Forest Officer, Chambal Division, A K Patel said they were waiting for the report from Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), which is diagnosing Lakshmi’s disease. “They had collected samples and were expected to submit their report by now. We still don’t know anything about the disease,” Patel told The Indian Express, adding that the remaining six lions at the breeding centre are healthy.
Director, Lion Safari, K K Singh said six-year-old Vishnu’s autopsy has been conducted. The viscera has been preserved and sent for examination at IVRI and Veterinary College, Pantnagar, he added.