The last Asiatic lion in captivity, a male, is spending its time peacefully at the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre near Vandalur zoo here.

A few years ago, the zoo had two pairs of pure breed Asiatic lions. Nearly a decade ago, one of the male lions died and in 2006 a lioness died. In the following year, another lioness died, leaving behind the last Asiatic lion.

The zoo authorities said the male Asiatic lion was shifted about a year ago to its present home due to infighting among lions at the exhibit area. The tail of the male Asiatic lion was severed in the fight. The male could not fight back due to old age. Hence, the authorities shifted it from the zoo to the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. In captivity, the longevity of lions would be 20 years. The lone male is now 18 years and it is found in a good health. In its new home, the lion has more space to move around freely. It faces no disturbance from its country cousins – hybrid lions.

At present, the zoo houses totally 16 lions, which are hybrid. Of them, a dozen are sub adults and their age would be nearly seven. The remaining four are about 15 years old. The dozen sub adult lions are divided into two groups and the two prides are released into the Safari area on a rotation basis.

Keywords: Asiatic lion