Tuesday, February 28, 2017

With Mysuru zoo getting ‘bird flu-free’ tag more animals set to arrive soon

Shankar Bennur Mysuru: February 07, 2017 00:00 IST
The number of tourists visiting Mysuru zoo is on the rise after its reopening a few days ago.— PHOTO: M.A. Sriram  
With the reopening of the Mysuru zoo after it was declared bird flu-free, more animals are set to join the zoo’s vast collection as part of the animal exchange programme which had been put on hold owing to the avian influenza (H5N8) scare. The arrival of animals from other zoos was delayed on the instructions of the Central Zoo Authority.
The arrival of Shaurya, a male Asiatic lion, which is being exchanged with the zoo here by Rajkot zoo for other animals, is expected soon with the zoo’s reopening following its closure for almost a month.
“The exchange deal has been revived and the lion is likely to arrive in March. We aim to step up captive breeding of Asiatic lions soon after the young male’s arrival. Also, Vandalur zoo in Chennai is giving us a male and a female lion tailed macaque, a highly endangered species, in exchange for other animals. They are also expected to arrive in March,” said Zoo Executive Director Kamala Karikalan.
Animal exchange with foreign zoos was also on the cards with a Sri Lankan zoo coming forward to give six green anacondas – three male and three female, she said.
She told The Hindu that visitors will get to see all the new collections in summer vacation since the animals will be put in quarantine soon after their arrival as per protocol.
Ms. Karikalan said two more exchanges were awaiting clearances and they include a Himalayan bear from Shillong zoo in Meghalaya and a pair of otters from Surat zoo. “If these deals get the nod and materialise this month, even these animals will arrive around the same time,” she said.
Captive breeding
The director said the exchanges were happening with the main purpose of hastening captive breeding for which the zoo has “unmatched reputation.”
Rise in footfall
Tourist footfall to the zoo have been seeing an upward trend since its reopening. “Over 10,000 tourists visited the zoo on Sunday,” she said, adding that the weekday turnout was around 5,000-6,000.
This shows the popularity of the zoo as the most-visited tourist destination in Mysuru.
The zoo’s popularity has remained intact though it was out of bounds for tourists, according to stakeholders, who also claim that tourism in Mysuru will bounce back, bringing back smiles on the people banking on it for their

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