In a rare case of cannibalism, a lioness is said to have killed and devoured two of its own cubs born recently at a zoo in Indore.
The incident that took place three-four days ago came to light on Monday, leaving officials of the Kamla Nehru Zoo in a state of shock.
The lioness, named Bijli, had given birth to three cubs about a fortnight ago and all of them were kept together in a secluded enclosure.
On Monday, after zoo keepers found out that two of the cubs were missing, they realised the lioness has killed and eaten its own offsprings.
The incident is likely to have gone unnoticed for at least two-three days. The enclosure in which the lioness and her cubs were kept do not have any CCTV surveillance.
Zoo in-charge Dr Uttam Yadav said such cannibalism, though exceptional is not completely uncommon. He said there are similar instances even among domestic animals like dogs and cats. Such acts among wild animals go up when kept in captivity.
“The tigress was extremely aggressive after giving birth to the cubs and it isn’t clear whether the cubs were killed by her or they were born ill,” said Dr Yadav, adding the mother and cubs were left in solitude as it wasn’t possible to disturb them soon after they were born, the lioness’ first litter.
He said the third cub is safe and the big feline has been nursing it well.
Only a handful of Asiatic lions are there in Madhya Pradesh and all of them are living in captivity.