British zoo puts down second Asiatic lion in just five months
British zoo puts down second Asiatic lion in just five months after it tested positive for bovine TB
- Maliya, six, has been euthanized just months after her mother was put down
- Staff at Paignton Zoo in Devon said leading experts had confirmed the bad news
- Maliya’s two cubs, male Yali, his sister Arya, and father Lucifer remain at the zoo
A British zoo has had to put down a second Asiatic lion after it tested positive for bovine TB.
Zookeepers said they were heartbroken after six-year-old Maliya had to be euthanized – just months after the lion’s mother, Indu, was also put to sleep.
Staff at Paignton Zoo in Devon said leading experts confirmed the bad news and they had to act quickly.
Six-year-old Asiatic lioness Maliya (pictured) was given contraceptive implants earlier this year in the wake of antelopes testing positive for TB last year
The big cat was part of international efforts to conserve the endangered Asiatic lion species
Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said they had done all he could for the animal, and staff were devastated by the news.
He said: ‘We’ve done everything we can to be sure. Our in-house vets have spoken to the leading expert on felines and TB, someone who even helped develop one of the tests used.
‘Maliya was found to be highly positive on two tests for the Mycobacterium complex group and the gamma interferon results point towards bovine Tb.’
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Maliya and her mate, Lucifer, 15, were considered the most important breeding pair in Europe.
She was in February this year given contraceptive implants in the wake of antelopes testing positive for TB last year.
Mr Knowling said: ‘Whatever else happens before we eventually get the all clear and the TB restrictions on the Zoo are lifted, we knew we couldn’t keep her alive.
‘So, for the sake of her family and the larger collection, we had to take the decision, as heart-breaking as it was.’
Asiatic lioness Maliya with her two cubs, daughter Arya and son Yali, in their enclosure at Paignton Zoo in Devon
Maliya was born at Paignton Zoo in 2012 to mother Indu and father Mwamba and became a mother herself in 2016.
Indu tested positive for the disease earlier in the year and had to be put to sleep in July.
Paignton Zoo’s pride of rare Asiatic lions now consists of Maliya’s two cubs, male Yali and his sister Arya, along with father Lucifer.
Senior keeper Helen Neighbour paid tribute to Maliya: ‘She was the first cub born here that I ever worked with.
‘She grew up into a loving mother, brilliant with her cubs, very caring and very protective. She could be strong-willed and she liked to have the last word.’
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