A number of big cats and animals, some from the African savanna, will soon have a new home in New Town.
The deer park near Eco Park’s gate number 6 has been converted into a mini zoo spread over 17 acres.
A menagerie of animals and birds have been brought from the Alipore zoo and rescue and rehabilitation centres run by the state forest department.
According to a senior forest department official, big cats like the Asiatic lion, Royal Bengal tiger and leopard will be brought to the park next year. “Work on building their enclosures is on. We have managed to recreate their habitats in the wild. All the enclosures are being built with a toughened glass front for the best viewing experience,” said the official.
“Enclosures for giraffes, zebras and hippopotamuses are being built.”
Nearly 70 per cent of the zoo’s space will be open. The enclosures have been planned in accordance with guidelines set by the Central Zoo Authority.
Earlier this week, five marsh crocodiles were transported from the Alipore zoo and four saltwater crocodiles were brought from the Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project in the Sunderbans.
Two marsh crocodiles are adults and the rest are subadults. All the saltwater crocodiles are sub-adults. “We have brought sub-adult crocodiles as they will be able to adapt to this new environment,” said the forest department official.
The crocodiles have been housed in two separate large glass-fronted enclosures with water bodies lined with tall trees and marshes.
A couple of black swans, endemic to Australia and New Zealand, an Abdim’s stork that hails from Africa, a magpie goose, flocks of barnacle geese and Chinese geese, several blue and yellow macaws, greater cockatoos and lesser cockatoos have also arrived from the Alipore zoo.
The original residents of the park, barking deer and spotted deer, have got a new enclosure.
The housing infrastructure development corporation (Hidco) is the custodian of the land. The forest department has had operational control of the park since being inaugurated by chief minister Mamata Banerjee in February 2016.
The park was handed over to the West Bengal Zoo Authority in August 2017 and it got approval to set up the mini zoo in May 2018.