Indian zoo to get two new leopards
Leopard family to have two new members by Nov
– Tata Steel Zoological Park to get feline couple from Kaziranga rescue centre to make up for the loss of old inmates
Jamshedpur, Sept. 14: Ever since it lost two of its members, the leopard family at Tata Steel Zoological Park has been sad. But life will no longer be gloomy and despondent.
If the zoo authorities have their way, two leopards from the rescue centre of Kaziranga National Park will bring back cheer by the end of this year.
Zoo director M.S. Jain said the forest department of Assam had already cleared the proposal. However, the same is awaited from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA). “We have approached the CZA with the letter of approval from the Assam government. There are a lot of formalities involved in the process and we are expecting the CZA’s stamp of approval by November-end,” Jain said.
Officials at the zoo said the feline family had lost one of its male members to severe lung infection last year. Another female died of old age a couple of months ago.
“Currently, we have a pair and are expecting a male and a female this November. The new members will help our leopard couple beat loneliness. Moreover, it will be a treat for visitors,” said an official.
Jain said the zoo had room for four leopards and the decision to approach the authorities at Kaziranga was taken after one of the two females died two months ago.
The zoo director said there would be no exchange of animals this time. The cat couple is being brought from a rescue centre, which does not demand an exchange programme, he explained. “We have faced problems during exchange programmes in the past. Our zoo is not a big one and we do not have many species compared to other zoological parks in the country. An exchange offer is basically a loss for us. So, this time we decided to approach a rescue centre. Moreover, it is always good to give these animals — often deserted by their groups or rescued from the clutches of poachers — a new home,” he said.
The process of bringing the leopards, Jain said, would be time-consuming since the feline species falls under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972). “Had they been under Schedule III or IV, it would have been much easier. Leopards are considered endangered and so the process will be a little complicated. Let’s hope for the best.”
The zoological park is also in the process of bringing a pair of giraffes from the Alipore zoo in Calcutta. It will have to send six black bucks and two barking deer to Alipore in exchange.
The Jamshedpur zoo authorities had, initially, tried to procure the animals all the way from Africa, but co-ordination between the governments of the two countries was an unexpected hiccup. Assistant director of the zoo Manik Palit said transportation from one country to another would also have been a major hurdle, given the soaring fuel prices. The exchange programme with Alipore may also take some time. Palit said a number of zoos from across the country are trying to get giraffes from Alipore.
“Since we are a private body, we may be the last preference. We house animals to entertain visitors and Alipore zoo will definitely prefer zoos that breed animals. It will probably take more than a year for us to get the giraffes,” he said.
The zoo has, for the time being, settled for a camel from Rajasthan.