SOON, visitors to the Byculla zoo will be able to visit a pair of swamp deer (barasingha) from the Kanpur zoo. In exchange, the zoo authorities will send to the Kanpur zoo a pair of military macaw monkeys that the BMC has been breeding for 20 years. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has approved the plan to get the swamp deer, which has been in the works for over four years.
However, the residents will have to wait longer for jackals from Surat zoo, wolves from Jodhpur zoo, lions from Junagadh zoo and tigers from Aurangabad zoo, as the final approval from CZA is still pending. “We are expecting the approval in a few days,” said a civic official.
However, the CZA approval is not the only hiccup in the getting the animals. The Byculla zoo’s plan to procure more animals had hit a roadblock after it had no animals to offer in exchange to other zoos. Zoos across the country follow a barter system, whereby a zoo offers the animals it has in surplus in exchange for the animals it want.
At present, the Byculla zoo, built in 1982, has monkeys, crocodiles, elephants, hippopotamus and a surplus of exotic birds, which no other zoo wants. Officials said that almost 50 per cent of the zoo’s enclosures are empty, as several animals have died over the past few years.
“We are trying to get the animals without an exchange, as not many animals are left at the zoo. We have approached these zoos with an offer that we will exchange the animals they want in the future. We are waiting for a reply,” said Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta.
Under the zoo’s expansion plan, the civic body is also planning to create an enclosure for South American wild cat on the seven-acre plot acquired from Maftlal Mill. At present, BMC has undertaken work of leveling of the plot.
Meanwhile, from February 1, residents can watch five ‘Animal Planet’ movies, in four shows a day, at the zoo. In a bid to sensitize people, the BMC on Tuesday started a programme to show the movies in 3D theatre inside the zoo. The entry to the theatre, which has a seating capacity of 200, will be free for children studying in BMC schools. For others, an entry fee of Rs 50 will be charged.