HomeEnvironmentEtawah Lion Safari Faces Breeding Issues With Sibling Lions

Etawah Lion Safari Faces Breeding Issues With Sibling Lions


Etawah Lion Safari Faces Breeding Issues With Sibling Lions

ETAWAH (IANS) – The Etawah Lion Safari is facing a piquant problem.

The safari has seven lions — including three males and four females — that were born to Manan and Jessica between 2016 and 2020 now having reached a breeding age.

The problem that the safari faces is to prevent inbreeding (breeding between siblings) which can hurt the gene pool of the lions.

Manan and Jessica were both imported from zoos in Gujarat. Their seven progeny — Rupa, Sona, Gargi, Neerja, Simba, Sultan, and Bharat — comprise the first-generation lions at the safari and in the state.

The seven siblings who survived the safari have lent hope to the project that was otherwise labeled doomed and flawed. All the seven are in the prime of their youth, aged above four years of age, and breed able.

In the wild, young males abandon the pride by 3.5 years of age, reducing the possibility of incestuous mating. Adult lionesses solicit mating from nomadic males or males from neighboring prides, making inbreeding extremely infrequent.

An official said, “With so many siblings around, avoiding inbreeding is difficult but we are doing our best.”

The safari administration has started lodging the young lions and lionesses in adjacent rooms so that any signs of acceptance between them can be deciphered.

With the forest department considering bringing in four more lions from Gujarat soon, most of whom might be females, the prospective males may have more choices available as partners.

Initially, when the cubs were released in the visitors’ area in October 2021, they were all siblings — Bharat, Rupa, and Sona.

Now, Bharat has been replaced with Kanha so that if any of the four females show acceptance for him, their progeny would not have the same bloodline as their siblings.

The safari had nine first-generation lions, eight were born to the same parents, Manan, and Jessica between 2016 and 2020, while one, Kesari was born to Manan and Jennifer in April 2020.

Bahubali and Kesari did not survive.

Sultan and Simba are the eldest, born in June 2016. Bahubali was born in January 2018, Bharat, Rupa, and Sona in June 2019, and Neerja and Gargi in December 2020.

Apart from the siblings, the safari has females, Jessica, Heer, Radhika and Gauri and a male, Gigo — all brought from Gujarat.

Jessica and Heer may not be able to breed given their age, but the safari administration may pair Gigo with a prospective female to raise cubs with a varied gene pool.

Similarly, Gauri and Bharat have been kept in adjacent enclosures to make them familiar with each other.

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