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Lions from Gujarat, star tortoises from Andhra heading to Delhi zoo soon

More transfers are in the pipeline. Two tigresses and two sloth bears are likely to be sent from the Gorewada zoo at Nagpur, while a male tiger will be sent from the Chennai zoo.

New Delhi |
Updated: July 28, 2021 9:02:34 am
The Delhi zoo reopens to the public on August 1. (Express Archive)

Written by Abhinaya Harigovind

Soon after the Delhi zoo reopens to the public on August 1, it is likely to receive three lions — a male and two females — from Gujarat.

The lions will arrive from Kevadia zoo and Sakkarbaug zoo in Junagadh, increasing the number of lions at the zoo from two to five. Breeding of lions is on the anvil once the animals arrive. The Delhi zoo will, in turn, send hippopotamuses to these zoos.

In addition to the lions, the Central Zoo Authority has also given its approval for the Delhi zoo to receive a pair of wild dogs and 10 star tortoises from the zoo at Vizag, said Delhi zoo director Ramesh Pandey. These species are currently not housed here.

The exchange will begin to be executed by August-end. “Transporting of the animals will be done once the weather becomes congenial, since transportation in humid and warm weather is not comfortable for the animals and those who take care of them,” Pandey said.

More transfers are in the pipeline. Two tigresses and two sloth bears are likely to be sent from the Gorewada zoo at Nagpur, while a male tiger will be sent from the Chennai zoo.

At present, there are 94 species and 1,162 animals at Delhi zoo. The zoo authorities aim to take the total number of species up to 100.

When the zoo re-opens, it will be open in two slots — from 8 am to noon and from 1 pm to 5 pm. The premises will be sanitised in the hour-long window between the two slots. A total of 1,500 visitors will be permitted to enter in a single slot, and Covid-related protocol, including mask-wearing and social distancing, will have to be followed.

Ticket booking can only be done online through the National Zoological Park website. Booking counters will not be open at the zoo. Online booking will begin July 31. No food items will be permitted inside the zoo. It will remain closed on Fridays.

The zoo had been closed for a year before it opened for around ten days in April. It was shut again following a rise in Covid cases. Since the zoo houses rare species of trees, tree walks and bird-watching trips are in the offing, Pandey said.

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