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Hear big roars from across the Vindhyas

- Birsa zoo hopes for Bangalore lions, tigers

Tiger couple Durga and Sugreev, please join your paws together. Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park at Ormanjhi on the outskirts of Ranchi is busy clearing decks to get a young tiger and lion pair each from Bannerghatta National Park near Bangalore.

Bannerghatta National Park formally gave its consent to Central Zoo Authority of India (CZA), the apex body, for the proposed animal exchange programme.

According to the proposal, Birsa zoo will give a pair each of leopard cats and hyenas to Bannerghatta in return.

Indian zoos interested in animal exchange programmes first have to approach the CZA with a proposal.

Around two months ago, Birsa zoo sent a proposal to the CZA regarding young lions and tigers from Bangalore. The CZA diverted it to the southern zoo officials for their views.

“They are in favour of the scheme,” Birsa zoo director A. K. Patra maintained. “Our counterparts in Bangalore gave a positive response to our proposal. A fortnight ago, they wrote to the CZA citing their consent, raising our hopes. We are now waiting for CZA’s formal go-ahead.”

Last year, Birsa zoo’s dream of getting a tiger couple under a similar animal exchange programme with Itanagar zoo in Manipur fell flat when officials discovered the male feline was too old. The Itanagar animal habitat authorities allegedly didn’t inform the Birsa zoo management about this before.

“I really don’t want to comment on past experiences,” Patra said. “We are pursuing afresh to get tiger and lion couples,” he said. “Fingers crossed. We hope to get the big cats from Bangalore in the next two-three months,” he added.

Currently, Birsa zoo has a tiger couple Durga and Sugreev but their mating attempts in past year has not been a success. According officials, they are not mating now. Birsa zoo also has two lionesses Sundari and Saraswati but they are reportedly above mating age.

The zoo has drawn a blank on ambitious butterfly park and aquarium projects, pending proposals due to lack of suitable bidders, funds crunch and administrative hurdles.

Currently, the zoo is regularising its old casual staffers. “We are working with the principal chief conservator of forests to get permanent staffers on board. There is growing resentment among casual workers. If they are unhappy, managing the zoo gets tough,” said a source.


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