The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will spend Rs 82 lakh to buy two pairs of zebras, which will be given to Sakkarbaug Zoo at Junagadh in Gujarat and Kamala Nehru Zoo at Indore in Madhya Pradesh under the animal exchange program. Under the barter agreement, in return, Byculla zoo will get two pairs of Asiatic lions and one pair each of Indian bears and hyenas.
The purchase has been necessitated as the BMC’s Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo, Byculla is undergoing upgradation and renovation. Just before the lockdown, new animals like a pair of Bengal tigers, striped hyenas, a jackal, leopard and sloth bear were brought into the zoo.
Under existing rules, animals have to be bartered between zoos. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) regulates the exchanges of animals of endangered category listed under Schedule I and II of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, among zoos.
Officials said the contract has been awarded to the Thailand-based Goatrade Farming Company Ltd. who will procure and then transport these zebras to Gujarat and Indore. These zebras could be brought from other foreign zoos by the appointed firm. The same firm had procured humboldt penguins for the Byculla zoo. The barter is expected to be completed in the next six months. “The move is being undertaken after the Central Zoo Authority directed us to provide animals in exchange to these two zoos in 2019. The proposal will be tabled before the standing committee for final approval, “said a senior BMC official.
Under the phase two of an upgradation programme, the civic body is building enclosures for exotic species and Indian species. These new enclosures will accommodate new animals such as white lions, jaguars, cheetahs, ring-tailed lemurs, chimpanzees, mandrill monkeys, ostriches and emus.