International animal exchanges will now become easier for the century-old Mysore zoo, which has its eye on enriching its collection.

The zoo has become a member of World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), an association of world zoos and aquariums. According to sources here, many top zoos in the world are active members of WAZA. Being a member of WAZA would strengthen the Mysore zoo’s chances of engaging in more animal exchanges with foreign zoos, including major zoos, they said.

Zoo Executive Director B.P. Ravi confirmed the WAZA membership to The Hindu and said that a communication in this regard was received on Friday. “We recently applied for membership with the aim of develop a network with zoos abroad,” he said.

Mr. Ravi said that Nandankanan Zoological Park, Bhubaneswar, Darjeeling Zoo, Darjeeling, and National Zoological Park, Delhi, were the other WAZA members. He said that each member zoo could find out about what was happening in other member zoos.

“Moreover, our website will soon be linked to WAZA’s website so that the zoo’s profile can be accessed by interested zoos across the globe for animal exchange and other activities,” he disclosed.

Zoo’s plans

Mr. Ravi said the Mysore zoo was looking for an African white rhinoceros to enrich its collection. “We could not succeed in our earlier attempts as we were not a WAZA member. A foreign zoo wanted to know about WAZA status for possible exchange. A zoo in a south Asian country, which was interested in an exchange, was keen on our membership. Therefore, with WAZA membership, our case will get strength,” he said.

The Mysore zoo is also planning to get a Koala bear, native to Australia, under exchange. “Being a member, we get suitable links,” he explained.

Expert’s visit

An animal behavioural expert from Phoenix Zoo in Arizona, U.S., is coming to Mysore zoo to share her expertise and knowledge on behavioural aspects and other important issues in conservation.

Mr. Ravi said Hilda Tresz, who is an expert on chimpanzees, will arrive here on March 24 and give a presentation on different subjects for five days at the zoo auditorium.

“She is coming to Mysore on her own expense,” he said.

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