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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Mumbai: Byculla zoo set to get black jaguar, white lion as work on expansion of premises gathers pace

As per the Phase III of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC), which runs the zoo, expansion plan, the total area of the zoo, currently at 53 acres, will be expanded by another 10 acres at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai |
Updated: August 11, 2021 9:49:43 pm
Built in 1982, the zoo is presently home to around 335 animals, birds and reptiles, including monkeys, crocodiles, an elephant, a herd of deer, a hippopotamus, penguins and several exotic birds. (File Photo)

Visitors to Mumbai’s Byculla zoo can soon hope to see new animals such as black jaguar, white lion and wallaby on the premises as the zoo, officially known as Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, is set to get a major uplift over the next couple of years.

As per the Phase III of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC), which runs the zoo, expansion plan, the total area of the zoo, currently at 53 acres, will be expanded by another 10 acres at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore. This area is supposed to house the new animals, which will be brought in from across the world.

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) approved the BMC’s plan to get 16 new animals, among other things, on February 12, 2019.
On Wednesday, the civic body floated a tender for design, conceptualisation and construction of eight animal enclosures in the extended area. These enclosures would house black jaguar, cheetah, white lion, wallaby, chimpanzee, ring tail lemur, mandrill monkey and lesser flamingo.

BMC also re-issued tender for the construction of a space for exhibiting African savanna, an aviary for exotic birds such as emu, an enclosure for hippopotamus, besides landscaping, installation of CCTV cameras, public amenities and other infrastructure works. Earlier, the tender for the same was issued in May but the BMC withdrew it after technical issues in its online tender system.

Companies have now been given a time period of three months to submit their bids and work on the project is likely to be completed in less than two years (21 months) from the day the contracts are awarded, officials said.

Built in 1982, the zoo is presently home to around 335 animals, birds and reptiles, including monkeys, crocodiles, an elephant, a herd of deer, a hippopotamus, penguins and several exotic birds.

As per Phase III of its expansion plan, the BMC plans on bringing in giraffe, zebra, white lion, black jaguar, chimpanzee, oryx, cassowary, ostrich, okapi, ringtail lemur and cheetah from abroad.

Under Phase II, work on construction of 17 animal enclosures in the existing 53-acre area is underway. Of these, 10 enclosures have already been constructed, including a specialised underwater viewing facility for visitors to get a closer 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, officials said.

Just before the lockdown was imposed last year, a pair of Bengal tigers, striped hyenas, a jackal and a leopard were brought to the zoo. Last January, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had inaugurated a new aviary that houses over 100 species of bird.
Zoos across the country follow a barter system as part of which a zoo offers animals, which it has in surplus, to another in exchange for the species it wants on its premises.

After an exchange of letters between the chief ministers of Maharashtra and Gujarat, the Byculla zoo is likely to get a pair of lions from Junagadh as a donation. The plan for bringing in the lions had earlier hit a roadblock after the Junagadh zoo demanded a giraffe in exchange, which is not available with the Byculla zoo.

 

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