Updated: May 24, 2017 13:05 IST
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Tejika at her enclosure at Nahargarh Biological Park in Rajasthan. (HT File Photo)
Tejika, an Asiatic lioness
at Nahargarh Biological Park who recently gave birth to five cubs, was
shown documentaries of cats bringing up their cubs in forests of South
Africa and Gujarat’s Gir National Park to teach her about motherhood.
“Tejika is taking good care of her cubs,” said Rajasthan’s chief wildlife warden Arindam Tomar. “We don’t know what impact the documentaries had on her but she is doing better than her sister in Machia”.
The two were rescued from a circus and had never experienced motherhood. So taking care of cubs was new for them, said forest officials. Injuries to cubs are not uncommon for first litter of big cats in the wild as well, the officials added.
The Jodhpur incident was an eye-opener and the department installed an LED TV in Tejika’s enclosure showing her BBC and Nat Geo documentaries on how lions behave with their cubs in the wild. The videos focused on showing big cats lifting cubs in their mouth and moving around without hurting them.
Tejika gave birth over a period of three days. “The first three cubs were born on the intervening night of May 20 and May 21. One of them was born dead, while another is struggling for life due to excessive weakness. Three cubs are healthy and being fed by their mother regularly,” Tomar said.
The cubs and their mother are in a secluded area and officials are keeping a watch through CCTVs.
Motherhood was not easy for Tejika, who was shifted from Gujarat a few years ago. For months, she was not able to adjust to the zoo atmosphere and was battling diseases. With doctors tending to her around the clock, she survived and then got intimate with a lion named Siddhartha.
Park officials, however, are keeping their fingers crossed for Tejika’s cubs. “We hope that the TV experiment will be successful, but it is early days,” said a park official, requesting anonymity.
Asiatic lions are found only in Gir National Park in Gujarat and some rescued from circuses have been kept in zoos across India.