Minister for Environment and Forests releases the new giraffes - Samaikya and Andhra - for public viewing

Hundreds of wildlife enthusiasts who thronged the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park on Sunday were thrilled to see the new arrivals — a pair of giraffe from Malaysia and a rhino from Kanpur. A cheetah couple will be a Sankranti-eve gift to the zoo. Two pairs of black and white swans were among the new arrivals.

The giraffes, after the end of their long quarantine period, were allowed for public viewing along with the rhino, which turned aggressive and ran amok jumping out of its enclosure immediately after its arrival here from the Kanpur zoo eight months ago.

The giraffes arrived here on November 15 after a yearlong delay due to problems in getting visa and other clearances from various agencies and shifting them to India.

After releasing the new arrivals for public-viewing, Minister for Environment and Forests Satrucharla Vijaya Rama Raju named the male giraffe ‘Samaikya’ and the female partner ‘Andhra’. He said the zoo, set up in 1972, was one of the best in the country, and announced that to increase the number of visitors, a pair of cheetahs from the Czech Republic would be added under an exchange programme by Sankranti.

The Minister said they were also in the process of adding the zoo population by bringing ring-tailed lemurs, Mandrills, and Marmoset monkeys from the Israel zoo.

Smuggling

Decrying the killing of two forest officials in the Seshachalam forests recently by red sander smugglers, the Minister said they were taking stringent action to arrest smuggling and protect the forest field staff.

The Forest Department has identified seven divisions — two in Chittoor area, one each in Rajampet, Produttur, Tirupati, Nandyal and Nellore areas — as highly vulnerable and is forming special teams by recruiting additional hands and providing them with VHF sets, weapons, and vehicles. He said the Forest Department would receive 250 12-bore double barrel guns by this month end.

Asked to comment on implementation of the Forest Rights Act, he said all eligible applicants had been sanctioned pattas following due procedures.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force B.S.S. Reddy, PCCF (Wildlife) A.V. Joseph, Director of Zoos P. Mallikarjuna Rao, Conservator of Forests Bharat Kumar, and Zoo Curator G. Ramalingam were present.

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