(taken from the Bristol Zoo website)
Bristol Zoo Gardens announces the death of its lioness, Moti
Submitted by lucy on Wed, 2010-05-19 10:25
It is with great sadness that Bristol Zoo Gardens announces that Moti, our female Asiatic lion, has died.
Zoo vets diagnosed extensive disease of Moti’s reproductive tract which was unlikely to have responded to treatment. Zoo keepers and the vet team had been closely monitoring her condition, however, due to the advanced nature of her illness and the recent deterioration of her health, the decision was made for her to be euthanased, aged 15.
Bristol Zoo's lioness, MotiMoti was born at Helsinki Zoo, Finland, in 1994 and was hand reared by keepers. She arrived at Bristol Zoo in January 1996, where she has lived since. She had her first cub at Bristol Zoo in March 1998, but it only survived for a few days. She went on to have two cubs in August 1998, Indi and Dacca, and a third in August 2001, Aiesha. They have since grown up and moved to other European zoos as part of a managed conservation breeding programme.
Asiatic lions are critically endangered, with only approximately 300 left in the wild, living on a small reserve in the Gir Forest in western India in an area smaller than the New Forest.
Zoo staff will contact the co-ordinator of this important breeding programme to inform them of this sad event and will be making plans to receive a new lioness in due course as a mate for Kamal, our male lion. This is vital to ensure that Bristol zoo continues to contribute to the programme for this critically endangered lion. It is hoped that the new lioness will arrive this summer.
To help us remember Moti, and all the pleasure that she brought to thousands of visitors over the years, the Zoo has set up a short appeal in her memory; all contributions will be dedicated to Bristol Zoo’s Conservation Fund.
This Fund is used, not only to look after the threatened species in the Zoo’s care (including the Asiatic lions), but also to contribute to all the conservation activities, at home and abroad, in which the Zoo is actively engaged.
If you would like to make a contribution to Moti’s Conservation Fund, or if you would simply like to remember a loved one, please contact LizyJones on 0117 974 7329 or visit www.bristolzoo.org.uk/motifund. Donation envelopes are also available from the membership office.
Notes to Editors
Country of Origin: Historically northern Greece, eastern Eurpoe, the middle east, southwest Asia, and central India, but now only found in the Gir Forest in India.
These lions are not from Africa. They are the rare Asiatic lion from India. Only 300 Asiatic lions remain in the wild and they are found only in one small game reserve, smaller in area than the New Forest.
As there are so few Asiatic lions, it is necessary to manage the captive and wild populations if the species is to recover. It is essential to ensure that all the lions are pure bred and that pairs are not closely related to one another.
The Asiatic lion was once found in Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Middle East and most of India. It became extinct in Europe around 100 A.D. and in Palestine around the time of the Crusades. It remained widespread in other parts of its range until the time of the advent of firearms in the mid 1800s, which led to many local extinctions through hunting as a sport. In 1900, the Nawab of Junagadh, the local ruler, declared the few remaining lions in the Gir Forest protected animals.
Asiatic lions spend up to 20 hours of every day asleep.
Asiatic lions live in small prides with an average of only two females. The males are also less social and only associate with the pride when mating or on a large kill. It has been suggested that this may be because of the smaller prey available in the Gir Forest.