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On a new turf: Chinkara is one of the new additions at the Mysore zoo.
On a new turf: Chinkara is one of the new additions at the Mysore zoo.

Shankar Bennur

MYSORE: The rush of tourists to the Mysore zoo, one of the country’s oldest and biggest zoological gardens, is like never before. And with the arrival of new species of animals and birds here coinciding with the Dasara festivities, the zoo is making record gate collections.

For the first time in recent years, the zoo has received bulk booking from foreign tourists. Tourists from Belgium visited the zoo on Saturday, and a 90-member group of foreigners is expected to be here on Sunday.

Sources in the zoo said that a record number of visitors was expected this season, going by the turnout between October 2 and 4.

About 21,000 tourists visited the zoo on October 2, and the gate collection on the day touched Rs. 5 lakh. On the next two days too, the gate collections were almost the same. Chinkara (Gazella bennettii) or Jabeer Gazelle, a species of gazelle found in south Asia, is a new attraction. Red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus), Goral (Naemorhedus goral), Shikra (falcon) and Alexandrine parakeet too have been added to the zoo’s collection. These animals and birds have been acquired from the Chhatbir Zoo in Chandigarh and the Pipli Mini Zoo in Haryana, as part of an exchange programme. Goral (wild goat found in the Himalayan range), which is also known as gray goral, and Shikra are being exhibited at the zoo for the first time.

“The new species are adjusting to the new atmosphere,” zoo Director Vijay Ranjan Singh said.

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