Sunday was a busy day at Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park in Katraj, as Punekars visited in large numbers to see the pair of Asiatic Lions, Subhi and Tejas, that were unveiled to the public.
The pair was brought to the zoo at the end of December 2016. These are the only pure breed Asiatic Lions in Maharashtra.
As it was a holiday, the zoo was crowded with people of all age groups, locals as well as tourists. While there were many who had specially come to the zoo to see the lions, there were also those who were just visiting since it was a Sunday. As the lions, Subhi (female) and Tejas (male), paced in their trench, people, young and adult alike, were enthralled to see them.
Novelty for Punekars
Ashish Rahurkar, an IT professional visiting the zoo with his wife, said that he had planned the visit to the zoo as a Sunday out plan, but was delighted to see the pair of lions, as he hadn’t seen one in his lifetime.
Ranjana Ashok Shinde, a housewife, who had come to the zoo with her teenage son, said, “I have come today especially to show my son the new lions brought to the zoo. I really appreciate the decision of the zoo to get lions, as my son hasn’t seen a lion before, and neither have I.”
Speaking to Sakal Times, Zoo Director Rajkumar Jadhav said that the footfalls to the zoo this Sunday was certainly greater than the past few weekends. “Today, 9,950 people visited the zoo. We are expecting the number to increase a lot in coming days, as awareness about the tigers increase and children’s summer vacations begin,” said Jadhav.
The security officials said that the crowd was unusually excited and happy to see the lions and they had to monitor the lions’ trench throughout the day to make the crowd move away.
The lions are presently kept in the White Tiger’s trench in the zoo. Jadhav added, “We are planning to build a separate trench for them, however, work for the same has not yet started. We are expecting it to be ready withing a year’s time.”
Dos and Don’ts to follow in the zoo
Rajkumar Jadhav, Zoo Director, on what not to do while visiting the lions and all other animals in the zoo:
- Rules on the dos and don’ts of the zoo have been displayed right at the main entrance, however, we find many who do not follow them.
- People should follow these rules if they wish to see these animals in their natural setting.
- Trying to seek the attention of these animals by shouting or any other behaviour would not serve that purpose.
- Moreover, such actions are seen as a crime under the Wildlife Protection Act. People should behave in a civilised manner in the zoo.