31 July, 2021

The Life Sentence

India’s zoos are in a shambles, conservation needs new ideas

The Life Sentence

Behind Bars

  • In ’06, India had 159 recognised zoological parks, but adding illegal ones, it could number 350-500
  • Zoo conditions deplorable, tragedy like at Nandankanan in 2000 when 11 tigers died, always a risk
  • Captive breeding not working out, why not spend the money on habitat management in wild?
  • Illegal wildlife trade booming in India, evidence to show that zoos are part of the supply chain


Kiara is irresistibly adorable, but as pictures of the tiny Liliger cub went viral, conservationists across the globe started questioning her very existence. Bred in captivity, Kiara is the offspring of a Liger (itself born of a lion-tigress mating) crossed with a lion. In short she is a mutant, a genetic mish-mash of felines bred in captivity that would never exist in the wild. The Novosibirsk zoo in Russia can expect a roar from the public when little Kiara is put on display but, really, the cub is little more than an extravagant experiment with zero...

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