Male and female lions meet for the first time at Tehran Zoo
A lion couple kept in captivity at Tehran Zoological Garden for the reproduction of the endangered species have finally met each other, a veterinarian at Tehran Zoo in Eram said to the Tehran Times this week.
A male Persian lion, born six years ago, was sent to Tehran Zoological Garden from Britain’s Bristol Zoo on May 1, under a population management program aiming at endangered species reproduction by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).
A female lion of the same subspecies from Ireland also sent to Iran to accompany the male lion through the conservation program from Dublin zoo previous reports said.
The female lion has so far met her male companion, but this time they are going to live in together after two months after being introduced to each other, Iman Memarian said.
Most animals recognise other animals by sight or smell, although other cues could be used, such as sounds. Odours are also used as cues to familiarity or genetic relatedness in mammals, birds, amphibians, fish and insects; odours mainly come from general sweat glands or specialised glands in the skin, he explained.
“Some wild species even kill each other after being introduced; therefore, we are so cautious about the lion couple and are under supervision since next few days,” he added.
Currently, the two animals are controlled with contraceptives, he stated, adding, they undergo birth control measures as long as the purpose for their captive breeding is determined.
Over the past years, Tehran Zoological Garden has succeeded in becoming a member of EAZA, and it is being supervised to ensure the animal’s safety, he highlighted, adding, “We met the internationally defined standards.”
He went on to add that the male lion is the only Persian lion, as its twin sibling died due to severe respiratory problems.
Disappeared for 80 years, Persian lion once prowled from the Middle East to India, while currently only a fraction of these magnificent animals survive in the wild, which range is restricted to the Gir National Park and environs in the Indian state of Gujarat.