Mysore zoo hoping for a westland lowland gorilla from a French zoo

Mysore zoo is making an attempt to get a westland lowland gorilla from a French zoo. If this works out, Polo, a 50-year-old male gorilla at the zoo here, will finally have a companion after about a decade of loneliness.

Zoo executive director B.P. Ravi told The Hindu that a zoo in France has showed “interest” in Mysore zoo’s request for a male gorilla, aged between 16 and 21 years.

A clearance from an authority monitoring animal exchanges from European zoos was essential before the move could be finalised. Suresh Kumar, the zoo’s assistant director and chief veterinarian, who is visiting Leipzig zoo in Germany this month, would meet the Frankfurt zoo director, who heads the authority, requesting for clearance, Mr. Ravi said.

No female

“Although we wanted a female gorilla, as we already have a male, the zoo in France has shown an interest in giving us a male. It’s not easy to get a female. We are okay with this, as Polo is old. Once we get a male, we can try for a female,” the zoo official said.

He added that the zoo here was ready to give an animal in exchange for the gorilla. “If the French zoo wishes to gift the animal to us, we will be more than happy to accept it.”

Polo, gifted by Dublin zoo and the only gorilla in an Indian zoo, has been without a mate for over a decade. The zoo here has been working for a long time to get a companion for it.

Keeper in Europe

Meanwhile, Puttaswamy, the keeper of sloth bears and wolves at the zoo here, will visit Leipzig zoo with Dr. Kumar to train the keepers there. He will be the first keeper from the zoo here to travel on such an assignment.

Mr. Ravi said the zoo had sought special permission from the Director-General of Civil Aviation to allow Mr. Puttaswamy to accompany four sloth bears, being given as part of an animal exchange with Leipzig zoo.

He will train the keepers there on how to handle the sloth bears.

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