Neyyar Lion Safari Park’s last inmate too dead

Lioness Bindu.  

The three-decade-old Lion Safari Park at Neyyar, near here, is on the verge of closure after the death of its lone inmate, 21-year-old lioness Bindu, on Wednesday.

Bindu, who was born in the park in December 2000, has remained under close observation for around a week as she has been showing reduced appetite and other ailments related to old age. She is reported to have died around 6 a.m.

The lioness, whose mother Ramani died nearly five years ago, had witnessed the death of her last companion, 12-year old lion Nagaraj, two weeks ago.

Former Chief Forest Veterinary Officer E.K. Easwaran led the post-mortem examination on the park premises. Swab samples were collected from the carcass to be sent for COVID-19 testing.

Nagaraj negative

J.R. Ani, Wildlife Warden, Thiruvananthapuram, confirmed that Nagaraj had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2. The State Institute for Animal Diseases, Palode, had received the test findings from the ICAR - National Institute for High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal a few days ago.

Carcass of lioness Bindu that died at the Neyyar Lion Safari Park in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

Carcass of lioness Bindu that died at the Neyyar Lion Safari Park in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.  

With the deaths of its last surviving members, the park faced an uncertain future. It currently accommodated two tigers that awaited transfer to the animal hospice and palliative care centre coming up in Wayanad.

15 in heyday

Though it had been established in 1984, the park meant to house Asiatic lions gained prominence only a decade later when the Forest Department undertook a course-correction in its strategy. Soon, visitors began to arrive in droves for the safari in the park on closed vehicles as the big cats roamed around in their natural environment. The facility used to have 15 lions in its heyday.

The department has been making concerted attempts through the Central Zoo Authority to bring more lions to the park from various zoos. Nagaraj and a lioness, Radha, had been brought from the Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden in Gujarat two years ago in exchange for two giant Malabar squirrels. Radha died shortly after her arrival at the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 2:56:10 AM |

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