Agartala, June 21 (IANS): At least three lion cubs and 10 python snakelets have been born in Sepahijala Wildlife Zoo and Sanctuary in Tripura.
"The three newly born lion cubs were named Amar, Akbar and Anthony by Forest Minister Naresh Jamatia," Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Atul Kumar Gupta told IANS. "Last July, the Sepahijala zoo authorities brought one lion and a lioness from Bannerghatta National Park in Karnataka under an animal exchange programme. The lioness recently gave birth to triplets in the zoo hospital," he said.
Gupta, also the State's Chief Wildlife Warden, said a python had also given birth to 10 snakelets last week in the zoo.
"In captivity, birth of lion cubs is not a rare event but it is very uncommon. We have taken all kinds of steps to take care of the three cubs and their mother," the official said.
He said the offspring of the python were on Saturday released in the natural habitat of Sepahijala Sanctuary.
"Normally a python gives birth 90 days after laying eggs but in this case snakes were out in 45 days and found to be healthy."
Gupta said Sepahijala zoo had also provided three spectacled Langurs, three pig-tailed Macaque and two Himalayan Black Bears to Bannerghatta zoo.
Last year, Visakhapatnam's Indira Gandhi Zoological Park and the Sepahijala Zoo had also exchanged animals.
Tripura's Wildlife Department officials were holding talks with the West Bengal Forest Department and the Rajkot Zoological Park to exchange certain rare species of animals.
West Bengal wildlife wing officials are keen to send some surplus animals to Tripura.
Sepahijala Zoo, situated in the Sepahijala Sanctuary and National Park, is one of India's 22 large zoos.
"Sepahijala is the only zoo in India located within a wildlife sanctuary. A portion of the sanctuary was also declared Clouded Leopard National Park," Gupta said.
The zoo, national park and sanctuary attract thousands of tourists from within and outside Tripura.
Gupta said the State government has decided to create two elephant reserves in Tripura for the protection of wild elephants and a Rs 10 crore project was sent to the Forest and Environment Ministry to sanction funds.
Gupta said, according to a census in 2013, there are 58 wild elephants in Tripura, bordering Bangladesh.