Saturday 21 October 2017

Lioness shows cougar tendencies

Two-year-old Jayendra looks around his new enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo after recently arriving from Bristol Zoo
Two-year-old Jayendra looks around his new enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo after recently arriving from Bristol Zoo

She may be a lioness, but Kamlesh is showing distinctly cougar-ish tendencies.

Edinburgh Zoo's resident Asiatic lioness has taken up a toy boy 13 years her junior.

Jayendra, two, arrived from Bristol Zoo at the end of June, and keepers say he has "hit it off" with the older animal.

The pair have even been spotted curling up together to sleep.

Jayendra has not yet reached sexual maturity, but it is hoped the pair will boost the species by having cubs later on.

But for now Kamlesh is showing her toy boy that she is the boss.

Alison Maclean, head carnivore keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said: "It's great news that we have Jay at the zoo and he has already been introduced successfully to Kamlesh, our feisty female Asiatic lion. When you're introducing any animal to another animal for the first time there is always uncertainty, especially when it's two very powerful lions.

"Kamlesh is around 13 years older than Jay and is slightly larger in size than him too, so it was going to be interesting to see how they would react to each other.

"I'm glad to say that they seem to have hit it off, and they could even be spotted curled up sleeping together on the first night after the introductions - which is a great sign. Jay has been submissive to Kamlesh and she is definitely the boss in the relationship, for now anyway. We expect this will change when Jay reaches sexual maturity and takes over as the dominant one in the pair."

Asiatic lions, which are one of the seven subspecies of lions, are critically endangered because of habitat loss and poaching. They can now be found only in the Gir Forest National Park in India, and there are thought to be just 175 left in the wild.

Press Association

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