Indian zoos trade white tigers, jaguar, other animals

Tenzing Lamsang

New Delhi, October 30: Delhi Zoo will soon get three zebras and a rhino from the San Diego Zoo, USA, in exchange for a three-year-old rhino under the National Zoological Park’s exchange programme, according to zoo officials.

The enclosure for the zebras — one male and two females — has already been prepared and the zebras will arrive by February 2007, zoo authorities added.

“The point of exchanging rhinos here is to avoid inbreeding and we are excited as we will be getting zebras to our zoo after more than 20 years,” said DN Singh, Director, National Zoological Park, Delhi.

Singh said the zebra is an exotic animal which is not easy to get, and with this deal, the Delhi Zoo will have made an important addition to its profile.

This exchange programme is part of a larger deal between the National Zoological Park, the Sanjay Gandhi Zoological Park, Patna and the San Diego Zoo. Patna, in a similar deal, will be getting two giraffes and a new rhino as well. Earlier, there were plans to get zebras from Pakistan but things did not move on that front. So, a deal was struck with San Diego, zoo authorities said.

As per the deal, the zoo’s 3-year-old rhino, Brahmaputra, will move to the San Diego Zoo. Bhai Lal, the caretaker for rhinos at the zoo, said that of the four rhinos—a male, a female and two male calves— Brahmaputra is the eldest calf.

Meanwhile, Delhi Zoo is host to two German chimps—Marius (12) and Manni(7). Singh told Newsline that the quarantine period for the two chimpanzees was a whole month. This is being done as any suppressed virus takes one month to show up in a foreign environment, Singh said.

After a month, the plan is to place the two chimps in a cage next to the female chimps Rita (16) and Ruby (20) for mating.

The Delhi Zoo had recently exchanged a pair of white tigers and jaguar for some exotic birds and the rare lion tailed macaque with the Mysore Zoo.

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