Two new guests arrive in city zoo

Jumbos from Aurangabad seem to be happy at their new home

December 14, 2017 01:03 am | Updated 01:03 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

The elephants that arrived from Aurangabad at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.

The elephants that arrived from Aurangabad at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.

For 52-year-old elephant Saraswati and her female calf Laxmi, it was a celebration of freedom as they arrived here from Aurangabad zoo to the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park on Wednesday. After being confined for years in a tiny space in violation of the Central Zoo of Authority (CZA) norms, the two jumbos seemed to be happy at their new home in the city zoo.

Laxmi gave herself a dust bath in a playful mood, much to the amusement of scores of visitors who came to welcome the new members of the zoo park.

The elephants set off from Aurangabad on Monday covering 1,200 km en route Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary and arrived in IGZP late on Tuesday night. The animals were accompanied by two mahouts from Aurangabad zoo who will be here till the animals get acclimatised to their new surroundings. Caretakers from AP also helped in shifting the animals.

“We are planning to get two more mahouts from the elephant camp in Chittoor district. Right now the zoo has six mahouts,” curator B. Vijay Kumar told The Hindu .

Meanwhile, the elephant Saraswati is said to be on medication for age-related digestive issue. “We are giving the elephant liquid paraffin and so far it has responded well,” the curator added. With the addition of the two female jumbos, the count of the elephants in Vizag zoo has gone up to four. The zoo had two male elephants - Raja and Krishna.

The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park is one among the few selected zoos in the country to have elephants in captivity. In 2009, the CZA officials visited various zoos in the country and felt that the zoo environment was not appropriate for large animals like elephants as they need expansive locations to move around freely. After reviewing the Aurangabad zoo, the officials felt that the space provided to the animals was not enough. Later, a CZA circular directed 64 other zoo authorities in the county to shift all the elephants to bigger and better places.

CCTV for new borns

Soon, visitors to Vizag zoo will be able to view the endearing antics of all newborns from through live CCTV footage at the Bioscope. Sharing details on the plan, the curator said: “To begin with, CCTV cameras will be put in the five enclosures of hippo, hyena, wild dog, white tiger, ring tailed lemur and pelican. These are the enclosures which have seen births in the recent past and the young ones are doing well.”

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