PETALING JAYA, June 16 — Zoo Negara has cited mating season as the reason why its lion Manja Kani lost weight.

The zoo’s deputy president Rosly @ Rahmat Ahmat Lana told Astro Awani that the 15-year-old male was too busy trying to woo its mate Manja Ela, so much that the animal occasionally neglected its meals.

“Manja Kani and Manja Ela have been in the mating process recently and that caused Manja Kani to skip meals sometimes.

“It’s normal for the panthera leo (lion) species but it was more noticeable in Manja Kani’s case because the female refused attempts to mate and he has been trying to coerce her into mating.”


Rosly previously told Bernama that Manja Kani’s thinner appearance was a result of switching its diet to chicken after their meat supply was disrupted by the movement control order (MCO).

He said Manja Kani was a “fussy eater” but its appetite had picked up since they started feeding him meat again last week.

“Sometimes it likes beef and not chicken, other times it likes venison and not beef,” Rosly added, emphasising that the lion is healthy despite the weight loss.


Malaysians expressed anger after a photo of Manja Kani with its ribcage visible surfaced on Twitter last week, sparking concerns that the animal was being underfed despite RM2.2 million in donations pouring into Zoo Negara in 2020.

Many were also frustrated over the zoo’s lack of transparency as its annual reports and list of key personnel are nowhere to be found on its website.