The number of reptiles at the National Zoological Park, or Delhi zoo, is set to nearly double by the end of the month, with the transfer of at least 19 animals across six species from the Gwalior Zoo, a zoo official told The Indian Express.
On the list are five pythons, four cobras, four rat snakes, two monitor lizards, and — in what will be two new species at the Delhi Zoo — a pair each of common sand boa and red sand boa.
“The reptiles are a part of an exchange programme, and will be brought to Delhi by road. By adding them to the existing animals in the Delhi Zoo’s Reptile House, we will double the existing number,” said the Delhi zoo official.
Unlike mammals, the reptiles will not spend the first few months at the vet’s office.
“Reptiles will be kept inside four empty enclosures which will function as quarantine zones at first. The new animals will be monitored carefully,” said the official.
Since last September, the Reptile House — which currently house 18-19 animals — has been under renovation. It was finally opened to the public again last month, said Delhi Zoo curator Riaz Khan.
“The Reptile House needed an upgrade as it had been a while. There were no air turbines earlier; now we have added them in 16 enclosures for better ventilation,” said an official.
Better lighting has also been introduced at the zoo’s Reptile House, and glass on the enclosures has been changed.
An official said, “Earlier, we had normal glass, which wasn’t good for viewing as it got scratches easily. Now we have introduced a double-layer toughened glass, which is thicker, and is better for viewing as well.”
For the last few months, the Delhi Zoo has been a part of an exchange programme with at least 10 zoos in the country. Apart from the six reptile species, the zoo will welcome leopard cat, fishing cat and oriental hornbill.
Two months ago, three leopards from the zoos in Jammu and Raipur made the Delhi Zoo their home. In the last few months, the zoo has also bid farewell to over 200 animals.