PATNA: Five new big cats - one pair each of Asiatic lion and white tiger and one Royal Bengal tiger - are likely to arrive at the Patna zoo by the second week of next month under an exchange programme with Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad.
"After several rounds of negotiations, we are now ready to give one pair of horned rhino to Nehru zoo in exchange for their five animals," said Abhay Kumar, director, Patna zoo.
Kumar claimed that Patna zoo is the only zoo in the country that offers favourable conditions for the breeding of rhinos. "At present, we have the highest number of rhinos (13) in the country; thus, we are exchanging it to get a few more animals for our zoo," he said.
"Rhino is a very heavy animal, with each rhino may be weighing over a tonne. So, we are making necessary arrangements and taking precautionary measures to shift the rhinos to Hyderabad. They would be transported to the Nehru zoo via road by the end of this month," Kumar told TOI.
"Once the rhinos reach Nehru zoo, as per the exchange agreement, their authorities would send us a pair each of Asiatic lions and white tiger and one Royal Bengal tiger," Kumar added. "We are expecting those animals to arrive here by the second week of August."
Meanwhile, Patna zoo has already started making arrangements to house these new animals. "After the death of a white tigress, only one old white tigress is left with the zoo; so the tiger enclosure is almost vacant. We just need to add a few cages, which would be done by the month-end," officials said.
Patna zoo is also planning to expand the enclosure of rhinos. Kumar told TOI they were planning to allot some jungle area of the zoo to rhinos and do it in such a way that it gave them the feel of a jungle. "We would divide that area with a wooden overbridge, so that zoo visitors can see rhinos from close quarters without disturbing them," Kumar added.