After a gap of nearly five years,the Delhi Zoo now plans to begin breeding of one of its star attraction the white tiger,officials said on Monday. The zoo also plans to begin breeding programmes of other carnivores such as Asiatic lions,jaguars,hyenas and wolves in the coming months,said R A Khan,curator of the National Zoological Park.
We had not been able to breed the white tigers till now due to a shortage of space. But this year,the zoo has given away three of them to other zoos in the country and so we now plan to start breeding again. Wolf and hyena pairs were brought to the zoo recently and we plan to breed them as well,along with Asiatic lions,said Khan.
The zoo currently has six white tigers four females and two males. Three tigers have been given away in as part of exchange programmes with other zoos this year. One was was sent to Jaipur,Gwalior and Chandigarh zoos.
The last breeding of white tigers took place about four-and-a-half years ago. The process has already started and we have begun administering medicines that help improve chances of reproduction. We hope that breeding will take place within five months, said Dr Panneer Selvam,the zoo doctor.
The zoo has seven Asiatic lions at present but it has the capacity to accommodate about 12,the curator said. Reproduction is important for animals once they attain maturity. We also need to increase numbers, said Khan.
Our animals are ageing. For example,of the three lion pairs we have,one is too old to be mated. The younger animals are being bred so that we have a new generation. The last time lion cubs were born here was more than two years ago. In the case of jaguars too,we have two females and one male and the species is in demand among zoos in India. So we would like to increase numbers, said Dr Selvam.
The zoo also plans to breed its Bengal tigers,said Dr Selvam. The Bengal tigers we have are all caught from the wild. Though we plan to breed them will have to wait till they are a little subdued, he said.
The zoo currently runs successive breeding programmes for many species of deer,including endangered species like the brow-antlered Sangai deer from Manipur along with other species like hippopotamus,bears,etc.