Tigers aplenty, zoo needs exotic animals
The Nehru Zoological Park (NZP) in Hyderabad finds itself in an envious position. Not many zoos in the country can boast of 21 tigers but then animal lovers and the discerning visitor complain that the zoo lacks variety.
Spread in sprawling 380 acres the Nehru Zoological Park is among the top five zoos in the country. At a time when the tiger population is the country is on the decline, the zoo boasts of a healthy number. TP Venu reports
The Nehru Zoological Park (NZP) in Hyderabad finds itself in an envious position. Not many zoos in the country can boast of 21 tigers but then animal lovers and the discerning visitor complain that the zoo lacks variety. The NZP officials however say that the zoo is among the top five in the country and houses some of the most exotic animals.
While the tiger is on the top of the list of visitors, the zoo officials are trying to add more animals to the zoo. Last December the Saudi prince gifted two African lions and cheetahs. P Mallikarjuna Rao, director, NZP says that the zoo is in tough with various zoos in the country and abroad to exchange and procure animals. “It is our constant endeavour to create a right mix of animals.”
Four zebras ready to arrive
The zoos in South Africa are ready to gift four zebras aged about 4 years to the zoo but the transportation cost is Rs 24 lakh. The zoo authorities have been trying for donations to get the zebras. BNN Murthy, curator, NZP says, “Zebras are always popular among the younger lot, especially school students. The zebras would be a welcome addition to the zoo and we are eager to have them.” Once the zebras arrive, the people of Hyderabad would be able to see zebras after 15 years.
The vulture breeding programme at the Nehru Zoological Park that started in 2011 without much success has got a boost with the Central Zoo Authority agreeing to give five breeding pair (Five male and an equal number of females) from Pinjore breeding centre in Haryana and Rani breeding centre from Assam.
The breeding programme in Hyderabad has not taken off due to the lack of enough pairs. A pair gave an egg but after 63 days of incubation, the egg did not hatch, the normal incubation period of white back vulture is 53 days. The zoo veterinarians and vulture experts say the egg could be infertile, hence did not hatch.
The animal adoption scheme has been gaining strength over the years as more and more people and institutions are coming forward. In what is a new trend, several school managements started sponsoring animals.
Individuals too have been pitching in. Just last week NS Ramjee donated Rs 10 lakh. He has been adopting elephant Vijay at a cost of Rs 5 lakh for more than four years now. In 2013-14 period, the zoo received Rs 58,43,000.00 towards donations and from April this year Rs 15,60,000 donations have come in.
Old is Gold
The Nehru zoo also houses some very old species. The four elephants in the zoo are all in their 40s (elephants live up to 80 years). An elephant that died about nine years ago was 76 years. “Popular among the school students, elephants are a treat to watch and have a way with the kids,” said a zoo employee.
The Giant tortoise, native of Galapagos Island weighing about 100 kg is a must watch. It has a pride of place in the zoo and the zoo officials have a special place for the silent creature. The life span of tortoise is for centuries and the tortoise at the zoo is healthy and looks to clock many more years.
“Its movement may be slow magar, lambi race ka goda hain saab,” says Hanif, the media relations officer of NZP.Mallikarjuna Rao says, “There is a plan to exchange a number of animals from different zoos and parks in Telangana. There is a renewed focus to take the NZP to the next level.”