GUWAHATI, Sept 3 - The State forest department has chalked out a plan for outcrossing of Asiatic lions, by lending as well as bringing the animal on loan basis from other states.
Officials of the Assam State Zoo and Patna Zoo are in a discussion to lend each other Asiatic lions in order to improve the bloodline in both the zoos, Zoo DFO Tejas Mariswamy told The Assam Tribune.
Currently, the Assam State Zoo has two pairs of Asiatic lions � one pair brought from Hyderabad and another pair from Gujarat. The Patna Zoo has three male lions. Talks are also on with a zoo in Punjab but they are yet to confirm their participation in the programme.
�Both the zoos aim to maintain pure bloodline of Asiatic lions and in this effort to ensure there is no in-breeding, they intend to spare individuals for breeding,� the DFO said.
If the breeding is done with a pair belonging to different families, the offspring is genetically stronger.
Inbreeding results in homozygosity, which can increase the chances of offspring being affected by deleterious or recessive traits. This usually leads to at least temporarily decreased biological fitness of a population, which is its ability to survive and reproduce.
Mariswamy said one of the primary objective of a zoo is to pioneer in conservation breeding of endangered species and to help in restocking of the same in the wild.
�The rhino breeding programme is already working well in the zoo and of late the breeding programme of other endangered species is going in the right direction. A golden langur baby was born in December last and more are expected in the future,� he said.
�The zoo is also successful in breeding of some of the very difficult and sensitive species like hoolock gibbon. For the first time in the history of the zoo, a hoolock gibbon was born in the State zoo on August 2. This is a great success considering that breeding in gibbon is extremely rare in captivity,� he said.
The Assam State Zoo has also entered into an agreement with the Nagaland Zoo and has brought one male serow from there to the State zoo on loan basis for breeding purpose.
This is an important step considering that the Assam State Zoo had only female serow and the Nagaland Zoo had only one male serow.
In a similar case, the Assam State Zoo is also entering into an agreement with the Aizawl Zoo and is about to bring in a female golden cat to pair it up with its lone male golden cat. Here again, the Assam State Zoo had only male golden cat and the Aizawl Zoo has only female golden cat.