Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mysuru zoo has struck yet another major international animal exchange to make it one of the country’s valued zoos for housing exotic species of animals and birds.
After the African cheetahs that arrived here from South Africa and are now among the zoo’s star attractions, it’s the turn of orangutans, the great apes.
The long-cherished wish of the zoo management is realising now and the five-decade long vacuum will soon end as it has struck an animal exchange deal with the Singapore Zoo, which has agreed to spare a pair of orangutans.
Once displayed, the Mysuru zoo will become the country’s lone zoo to house the great ape. An orangutan housed at Nandankanan zoo in Odisha died last year.
According to the records, the last time the zoo displayed orangutans was in the 70s and the zoo authorities’ best efforts thereafter to get an orangutan pair did not materialise.
In return for the orangutans, the zoo is giving two male giraffes to the Singapore Zoo.
Zoo executive director Ajit Kulkarni told The Hindu that the orangutans are expected to be brought here in February-March next year.
“This moment was long-awaited since the zoo had not displayed orangutans for over five decades. They are going to be the biggest attractions the coming year. The arrangements to receive them are on,” he said.
The zoo will soon start the construction of an enclosure for orangutans. “If we had the enclosure ready, we could have brought the animals by year-end,” Mr. Kulkarni said.
“Like how we built the ground-breaking enclosure for the cheetahs that are on display now, we would like to have a natural enclosure for orangutans too,” the director explained.
The Bank Note Paper Mill India, Mysuru, has contributed ₹70 lakh for the construction of the enclosure under its CSR initiative.
The Mysuru zoo has become the second Indian zoo to house African cheetahs, the fastest land animal, as it got a male and two females from the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre, a cheetah conservation centre in South Africa, in August this year.
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