May 30, 2021 2:27:57 am
The Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, popularly known as the Byculla zoo, is set to get a major uplift with the BMC planning to introduce more animals from across the world as part of its expansion plans for the zoo.
As per Phase III of the expansion plan, the area of the zoo, currently 53 acre, will be expanded by another 10 acre at a cost of Rs 200 crore. This area is supposed to house the new animals.
On Friday, the civic body had floated a tender worth Rs 95 crore for the construction of three animal enclosures in the extended area. The tender pertains to the construction of a space for exhibiting African savanna, an aviary for exotic birds and Emu, enclosure for hippopotamus, landscaping, installation of CCTV cameras, public amenities and other infrastructure works.
Companies have been given three months to submit their bids. The work is likely to be completed in around two years from the day the contract is awarded.
The zoo, built in 1982, has around 335 animals, birds and reptiles. It is home to monkeys, crocodiles, elephant, deer, hippopotamus, penguins and a surplus of exotic birds. BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal had earlier this year announced a phase-wise expansion of the zoo.
As per Phase III of the expansion plan, BMC plans to bring in giraffe, zebra, white lion, black jaguar, chimpanzee, oryx, cassowary, ostrich, okapi, ringtail lemur and cheetah from abroad. The enclosures and exhibit areas for these animals will be constructed in the extended 10-acre plot. Under Phase II, the zoo will construct 17 animal enclosures in the existing 53-acre area.
Already, 10 enclosures and exhibit areas have been constructed, including a specialised underwater viewing facility for visitors to get a close look at the tiger pair. Enclosures for leopards, sloth bears, hyenas, jackals, sambars, spotted deers, swamp deers, and Madras Pond Turtle have also been constructed. Additional enclosures for otters, Indian wolf, barking deer, Nilgai and four-horned antelopes are under construction.
Just before the lockdown was imposed last year, a pair of Bengal tigers, striped hyenas, a jackal, a leopard and a sloth bear were brought to the zoo. Last January, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had inaugurated a new aviary that houses over 100 species of birds.
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