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Viral Image Of “Skinny” Lion At Zoo Negara Upsets Malaysians Online, BUT…

Viral Image Of “Skinny” Lion At Zoo Negara Upsets Malaysians Online, BUT…

Kirat Kaur

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Just as visitors return to Zoo Negara as it opens its door during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), a picture of a “skinny” lion at the zoo has caused quite a stir online.

Shared by Twitter user @f4izalhassan with the caption “pray for our skinny lion”, the feline’s seemingly scrawny figure became the centre of attention on social media from Thursday, 11 June.

Many social media users were upset, concerned about the lion’s health and nutritional needs. Some even questioned the use of funds donated by the public for the zoo’s adoption programme during the MCO.

Since Zoo Negara is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) operated by the Malaysian Zoological Society, they depend on donations and ticket sales to cover their operating costs.

When TRP reached out to the organisation, the initial response reads as follows:

Just like any of the zoos around the globe, the animals are following strict dietary controls in place.

Zoo Negara Malaysia.

We are still awaiting for a full statement from Zoo Negara at the time of writing and will update the article accordingly.

Another Twitter user shared screenshots of her conversation with someone presumed to be working with Zoo Negara. The conversation seems to point towards the viral image being that of an old lion and that the zoo’s veterinarians are constantly monitoring the health of the animals.

Based on the image, the “skinny” feline appears to be an asiatic lion that generally weighs between 110-190kg.

Research says that in captivity, asiatic lions with an average body mass of 100kg consume 6% of their total body mass.

We also checked for more images of the asiatic lion and in comparison, the specimen in Zoo Negara appears slightly leaner, but not quite “skinny”.

Credit: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE Bernard Gagnon via Wikipedia.
A young male asiatic lion.
(Credit: Tanmay Haldar via Wikipedia)

With a total population size is about 350 animals, the asiatic lion is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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