Chimpanzees, kangaroo, jaguar and giraffe are some of the animals on the biological park’s wish list
A sleepy tiger lounges on a rock in the shade; sloth bears amble along as bus-loads of enthusiastic visitors slow down giving them right of way; the leopard paces up and down his enclosure, unmindful of the shutter-bugs whose interest he’s captured, even as young children run around, excited at seeing the animals from their books come alive. There’s a lot to keep visitors entertained at the Bannerghatta Biological Park. And, if all goes to plan, the park may soon have more to attract the young and old alike.
The authorities at the park are working towards getting a pair of chimpanzees to add to the 1,500 animals there. Plans are afoot to bring kangaroo, orangutan, jaguar, gorilla and giraffe as well.
In fact, the master plan drawn for development of the zoo, which is located around 23 km south of the city centre, envisages the addition of 150 more species to the collection. The zoo has 88 species — 42 species of birds, 30 species of mammals and 16 species of reptiles.
‘Scope for more’
“We are making efforts to add more animals, as there is scope for expansion. Enclosures for these exotic animals are getting ready,” an official said.
The chimpanzees would cost about Rs. 50 lakh to Rs. 60 lakh, the official added.
The zoo is being realigned as per the Central Zoo Authority guidelines and space has been earmarked for setting up enclosures.
The biological park, which currently operates herbivores, tiger, sloth bear and white tiger safaris, also intends to start leopard and elephant safaris.
However, the arrival of the new species could mean that the entry fee, which is currently Rs. 60, could be revised, the official indicated.
The zoo’s revenue in 2012–13 was Rs. 14 crore; it is expected to increase to Rs. 20 crore this year.
On complaints that the butterfly park did not have enough species, the official acknowledged that there are only 13 species of butterflies. “Butterflies are dependent on host facility to thrive and we are planning to send a team to Western Ghats to get more host plants. There are 30 to 40 species in Karnataka that can be bred here.”
Besides, the official said, many visitors did not show interest in visiting the butterfly park as there was an additional fee of Rs. 20 to get in.
To give the little ones more to look forward to, the park plans to add a mini train soon. Work on the train with a 2-km route (narrow gauge) will start soon after monsoon, another source said.
The train has been planned in such a way to “not affect the zoo or the park”, and will come up on the vacant land next to the parking lot.