| A lion cub in the conservation area of Patna zoo on Saturday. Telegraph picture |
Patna, Feb. 8: Lion cubs at Patna zoo would now be able to enjoy their natural environs after chief minister Nitish Kumar inaugurated a conservation area for the big cats today.
Nitish named the cubs, Sheru and Rani. The eight-month-old cubs were born to the Asiatic lion pair, Vishal and Sarswati, originally from Hyderabad zoo.
As the mother was not breast-feeding the cubs, they were kept mostly at the hospital and nursery area under supervision of a doctor. The cubs were fed goat milk during the first six months and 2kg chicken twice a day. Sheru weighs 30kg, while Rani is 25kg.
Nitish said: “The conservation area would provide a natural environment for lions.” He also laid the foundation stone of a zoo interpretation centre that would include a 3D theatre. Patna-based Sen and Lall Consultants Private Limited has prepared the detailed project report of the centre. “We are committed to increase forest cover in the state, for which we have to plant 24 crore trees,” added Nitish.
The conservation area, spread across 3,000sqm is aimed at providing an off-display area to the lions to enjoy their natural habitat. It comprises caves and hilly terrain to provide a forest-like environment. It has been developed at an estimated outlay of Rs 71.22 lakh and can accommodate at least 10 lions.
The zoo has introduced monthly/half-yearly and yearly passes. People can avail these by submitting the form and fee at the zoo office — Rs 250 for monthly, Rs 1,400 for half-yearly and Rs 2,500 for yearly pass.
The zoo has got eight wheelchairs for differently abled and senior citizens. “Six were donated by Union Bank of India and two were gifted by Lions Club today,” said zoo director S. Chandrashekhar.