Kattakkada: The only male lion left in the Neyyar Lion Safari Park also died on Sunday. The 20-year-old lion named Vishal died in the wee hours of the day, leaving only two lionesses in the park. The prima facie assumption of the forest department is that the lion died of old age. The veterinary surgeon of the forest department Dr. Jayakumar performed the autopsy and cremated the carcass.

The lion safari park was established in Neyyar Dam under the forest department in 1985, the first initiative of this kind. There were 16 lions in the beginning. As they started breeding and exceeded in number, the male lions were sterilized. Later, two of the lions died and one was given to the zoo. The remaining ones died one by one. After the death of the 20-year-old lion Manju in February, the number of lions in the park declined.

The safari park was the major attraction of tourists who visit Neyyar Dam. The park used to earn high revenue for the forest department but is presently being ruined due to the negligence of the authority. The procedures to bring two lions from Gujarat is still uncertain due to red tapism.