Saturday, August 27, 2016

Zoo dreams big, planning to bring in stars

Even as the city zoo’s efforts to bring in a pair of Himalayan bears from Nagaland continue, it is setting its sights higher to bring in some ‘star’ animals from abroad.
Giraffe, zebra, white lion, and black jaguar are the animals the zoo is looking to bring over from Africa. The proposal has the State government’s backing, but sanction from the Central Zoo Authority and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change is needed before other procedures get under way.
Also on the cards is acquisition of an Asiatic lion from Hyderabad. The lions at the zoo here are a hybrid of African and Asian, but the zoo is looking to bring in a pure Asiatic lion. A decision on this is expected at a meeting of the CZA the coming week.
The meeting is also likely to give the green signal to a proposal to bring white peacocks and reticulated python from the Vandalur zoo in Chennai.
The Himalayan bears will take another month to arrive, Zoo Director K. Gangadharan said. “We need to book an SLR coach to bring them here. Papers have been sent to Southern Railway in Chennai, and one we get their go-ahead, the bears can be transported here.”
The plan is to bring them over on the direct train from Dimapur.
At the zoo, the enclosures of various species are in for an overhaul. The exotic birds aviary near the zoo hospital, which has been in a bad shape owing to lack of maintenance, not to mention the onslaught from the birds themselves, is to get a makeover. The Public Works Department has been asked by Zoo Superintendent T.V. Anil Kumar to submit a revised estimate for the enclosure while taking into account better visibility for visitors. There are also plans for the crocodile and otter enclosures, besides the one for the Indian bison.
When the zoo does welcome the jaguar, it will need a new enclosure for the animal in keeping with the master plan.
Work on the aquatic aviary is expected to be finished by Onam.  
Another important initiative is greening of the enclosures. “A number of enclosures look barren. The idea is to have lots of plants and trees to mimic the natural environment of animals,” zoo officials said.

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