March 28, 2021

Delhi zoo to bring 3 more tigers for breeding purposes; ostrich, chinkara to be added

New Delhi, Mar 28 The Delhi zoo may soon get three tigers from Chennai and Nagpur for "breeding purposes" under an animal exchange programme, officials have said.

Zoo Director Ramesh Pandey said they plan to bring a pair of tigers from the Gorewada zoo in Nagpur, while another male tiger is likely to be brought from Chennai.

A Royal Bengal tigress was brought to the zoo from Kanpur for breeding proposes in November last year.

The Delhi zoo is a participant in the "Conservation Breeding Programme" of the Royal Bengal Tiger.

According to the Central Zoo Authority, the Conservation Breeding Programme is the science of conserving a species by preventing an imminent population collapse in the wild due to a large number of eliminative pressures such as habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, industrialisation, poaching, illegal trade and climate change.

At present, the Delhi zoo has seven tigers, including five white tigers, Pandey said.

"A pair of sloth bears from the Nagpur facility is also on the cards," he added.

A pair each of ostriches and chinkara (Indian gazelle) will be brought from Chandigarh this month, Pandey said, adding that the number of animal species in the zoo is likely to increase to 93 before it is reopened for the public on April 1 after remaining closed for over a year due to the coronavirus and bird-flu outbreaks.

The Delhi zoo has not had a chinkara since July 2019.

Chennai may also provide a male ostrich and a grey heron to the Delhi zoo, Pandey said.

"A proposal has been submitted to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to bring five species from the Visakhapatnam zoo, including star tortoise, dhole (wild dogs) and iguana," the director said, adding that the target is to increase the number of species to 100 by the end of financial year 2021-22.

At present, the Delhi zoo has 88 species of animals, up from 83 in March last year.

The zoo administration is also in the process of bringing bar-headed goose and godwit from Rohtak.

Recently, the Delhi zoo got a male sloth bear from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh and a pair of striped hyenas.

Pandey said once the zoo reopens, around 2,000 visitors will be allowed per day in two shifts of four hours each.

The entry tickets will have to be booked online as there will be no ticket counter, he added.

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