AHMEDABAD: In the movie ‘The Lion King’ (1994), Mufasa and Sarabi had a little cub Simba who wanted to rule the Pride of Rock. In Gir though, a lioness has set a record of sorts by giving birth to five Simbas.
Lioness Laxmi has brought pride to Gir, home of Asiatic lions, by becoming the first lioness to have a litter of five healthy cubs in Devaliya Park on Friday afternoon.
“Usually lioness gives birth to two or three cubs but five in a litter is very rare”, said P N Pandey, chief wildlife warden, expressing happiness over the unusual event. Litter is referred to group of cubs and is usually a size of two to three in case of lions.
Amidst all the brouhaha surrounding the shifting of Gir lions to Kuno National park in Madhya Pradesh, the birth of five cubs comes as a big relief. Supreme Court in its decision on April 15 has ordered the shifting of Asiatic lions of Gir to MP as an insurance against an epidemic wiping them out forever.
The Apex court also said that being split between two habitats would improve the lions’ gene pool. The birth of five cubs will help support Gujarat government’s long time argument that Gir lions are healthy and have no genetic disorders at present.
Laxmi is a 5 year old lioness who was brought to Interpretation Centre in Devaliya Park from Sakarbaug Zoo one year ago. Lions and lionesses are kept in the interpretation centre for the tourists who pay visit in large numbers to Gir forest.
The state government has decided to create another Gir Interpretation zone at Ambardi on the lines of Devaliya Park in Junagadh. The officials said that the department has already identified six lions- two of these are male- which will be shifted to the new interpretation zone.
Gir National Park (Sasan Gir) is the last abode of the Asiatic lions. It is a protected area from the southeast of Junagadh to south-west of Amreli. Devaliya Park is situated near Sasan Gir.