Lion cub dies at zoo

A lion cub born at the Alipore zoo on September 2 died on Thursday after being abandoned by her mother.

By A Staff Reporter in Alipore
  • Published 11.09.18
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Sruti, the lioness, in her enclosure

Alipore: A lion cub born at the Alipore zoo on September 2 died on Thursday after being abandoned by her mother.

The female cub was born to Viswas and Sruti, who had been brought to the city from the Hyderabad zoo in October 2017. The mother had kept the baby close to herself for the first 48 hours, not letting even the keepers near her.

But the cub seemed weak - she weighed 650g, compared to the normal weight of around 1.5kg - and was not able to drink mother's milk properly, said a zoo official.

On the third day, Sruti started abandoning the cub. The few times the baby tried to feed, Sruti shooed her away. "The baby did not get enough colostrum," a vet at the zoo said.

The cub was separated from Sruti on Wednesday. A team of keepers and vets gave her glucose water and baby food mixed with minerals. "The baby drank some but that was hardly a substitute for mother's milk," the vet said.

The baby collapsed on Wednesday evening and died the next afternoon.

"It is rare but not impossible for a first-time mother not to feed a newborn," another vet at the zoo said. Over-excitement and insufficient lactation might lead to such behaviour.

"If a big cat realises her offspring is weak and has low chances of survival, she can leave it to die or kill it herself. This is rare but not unprecedented," zoo director Asis Kr Samanta said.

A zebra born at the zoo died of weakness barely 24 hours after birth in March as his mother refused to feed him. A baby giraffe had died in last April after being abandoned by its mother after birth.