Caged lion kills lioness

P. Oppili

Zoo authorities said the death was due to infighting between 16-year old Ganesh and

13-year-old Divya

CHENNAI: A lioness was mauled to death by a lion recently at the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre for animals, located near the Vandalur zoo here.

The incident came to light when the animal keepers went to clean the cage. Later, the carcass was removed and, after a post-mortem, buried.

Zoo authorities said on Tuesday the death was due to infighting between the 16-year old lion Ganesh and the 13-year-old lioness Divya.

Usually, lions that are not compatible with each other would not be kept in adjoining enclosures. However, by mistake the aggressive lion was put in an enclosure next to that of the lioness. It managed to push its way inside the adjoining enclosure and attacked the lioness.

Zoo authorities said it was for the first time that a lion had died because of infighting at the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. The centre, particularly for lions and tigers rescued from circuses, is home to 45 lions and seven tigers. It was created on a 100-ha area nearly a decade ago. When contacted, Chief Conservator of Forests and director of the zoo P.L. Ananthasamy, however, said the lioness had died of old age. Divya was also sick for some time, he added.

Ostriches acquired

Meanwhile, the zoo has acquired a pair of ostriches from the Poultry Research Centre of the Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at Kattuppakkam, near Maraimalai Nagar.

The five-year old pair was purchased at a cost of Rs.3 lakh. The university had also sold ostriches to zoos in Karnataka and Jharkhand. The ostriches have been housed next to the giraffe enclosure at the Vandalur zoo. It is for the first time that the zoo had acquired these largest flightless birds, said its authorities.

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