2 lion cubs born at Etawah Lion Safari

Updated December 13, 2020

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IANS

Etawah (UP), Dec 13 (IANS) There is cheer at the Etawah Lion Safari after a lioness named Jessica delivered two cubs, minutes after midnight on Saturday.

The lioness and her litter are being kept under vigil and the cubs' gender is yet to be ascertained.

Safari deputy director, Suresh Chandra Rajput said that the first 72 hours are crucial.

Earlier, Jessica gave birth to six cubs, Sultan, Shimba, Bahubali, Bharat, Sona and Roopa. She is the only lioness from Gir National Park, whose cubs have survived, raising hope of opening of the lion safari as it nears the cub count of 10, as per Central Zoo Authority norms.

The cub count in the safari has now gone up to eight.

Jessica, who was brought from Gir in December 2015, was mated with Manan three months back and was expected to deliver in December second week, said wildlife officials.

Interestingly, all surviving cubs have been fathered by Manan. Only one cub of Jessica died in 2019 immediately after birth.

Safari authorities are taking steps to protect the newborns.

"Jessica gave birth to her first cub at 12.08 a.m. and the second at 1:13 a.m. They have been kept in an enclosure and officials are monitor them through CCTV cameras. Jessica is feeding the cubs. Only the safari keeper and veterinary doctors are allowed in the enclosure," said Rajput.

Currently, the Etawah Lion Safari boasts of four lions and two lionesses, Jessica and Heer, and six cubs all born from Jessica.

The Safari project was initiated in 2005 but environmental clearances were given in May 2013.

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