Chhattisgarh villagers host naming ceremony for lion cubs

June 17th, 2008 - 8:18 am ICT by IANS  

Raipur, June 16 (IANS) About a hundred villagers hosted a feast on the outskirts of state capital to name three lion cubs at a government zoo, an official said Monday. Residents from Hathband, Atari and Gomti villages, which surround the Nandan Van Zoo here, hosted a lunch Sunday to welcome the three cubs to the world.

Forest department officials have been struggling for decades to increase the number of lions in the zoo. Finally, two lionesses gave birth to three cubs March 14.

“Local residents including ‘panch’ (village council member) and sarpanchs (council heads) of three neighbouring villages wanted to host a feast since the birth of the cubs in March to welcome the three new guests,” Kedar Tiwari, Nandan Van Zoo in-charge told IANS.

“We finally allowed them to host the feast Sunday. After a brief religious ceremony the cubs were named - Jai, Vijay and Ajay,” he said.

“The cubs are healthy and weigh about 15 kg. We have started giving them boneless meat as they were till now on mother’s milk,” Tiwari added.

The zoo now has a total of seven lions including the three cubs. There are lions and two lionesses in the park.

The authorities are now planning to bring a tiger from a zoo in Bhilai to arrange mating with Nandan Van’s lone aged tigress to increase the population of the big cats.

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