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Pak to give Delhi Zoo ostrich, llama in return for Sambars

They might be a “headache” for zoo authorities here because of their rapidly growing tribe but not so for neighbouring...

By: PTI | New Delhi |
December 15, 2008 1:16:48 am

They might be a “headache” for zoo authorities here because of their rapidly growing tribe but not so for neighbouring Pakistan which is eagerly looking forward to rolling out the red carpet for the Indian Sambar deer in their Lahore Zoo.

The Pakistan Government has offered a pair each of the highly-endangered llama and ostriches to Delhi Zoo in exchange of two pairs of Sambar for its Lahore Zoo where not many deer species are available.

“We have received a proposal from Lahore Zoo in this regard. We have a surplus of Sambars in Delhi Zoo and will have no problem in the exchange. The proposal will be considered during the meeting of the technical committee of the Central Zoo Authority,” a senior official at the environment ministry said.

He said in exchange Pakistan will provide the endangered llama and ostriches. Established in 1872, and spread over 25 acres, Lahore Zoo is the third oldest zoo in the world.

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According to B R Sharma, member secretary Central Zoo Authority, “A proposal in this regard has been sent to Delhi Zoo which has a large number of Sambar at its disposal. In return the zoo will get ostriches and llama not found in India.”

“Although we have exchanged animals with other countries in the past, this will probably be the first time in the recent past that we will have an exchange of animals with Pakistan,” he said.

The animals exchange programme with foreign zoos was abruptly stopped almost a year ago following objections from the Prime Minister’s Office.

As a result, several proposed exchange programmes with zoos in other countries hit a road block, hampering conservation and breeding activities.

“But with the PMO recently clearing the file for the exchange programme, we have started re-looking at all the proposals, including this one (from Pakistan).

The present strained relations with the neighbouring country in view of the recent terror attack has nothing to do with the animal exchange scheme.

“Rather it would strengthen the bond,” B R Sharma, member secretary Central Zoo Authority, says.

Some other programmes waiting for a green signal from the environment ministry are between Mysore and Singapore zoos: a sloth bear will be exchanged for four African wild dogs from Singapore Zoo.

The Mysore Zoo has also proposed to bring four maned wolves from Frankfurt Zoo in exchange for two sloth bears.

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