Buffalo meat to be back on menu at BBP

Carnivores are given beef to mimic natural feeding habits.  

The menu for carnivores at the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) is soon set to reintroduce beef (buffalo meat). The pandemic, followed by the new ordinance on cattle slaughter had kept buffalo meat off the menu.

But the park authorities are now finalising tenders for supply of the meat and hope to start feeding the carnivores beef in a week’s time.

Vanashree Vipin Singh, executive director, BBP, told The Hindu that carnivores were given beef since inception in all zoos to mimic natural feeding habits because in nature, they feed on gaur, sambal and the like.

“But due to COVID-19, there was a break in supply of beef and live animals. We resumed feeding beef in November, December, and January. It was re-tendered because the prices were higher. After the ordinance, other issues cropped up. So, we went back to feeding them chicken,” she explained.

This January, the State government promulgated the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Ordinance, 2020 to ban slaughter of cows, bulls, and bullocks of all ages, and male or female buffaloes aged below 13.

The new law makes provisions for stricter implementation of rules regarding transportation of cattle, seizure of vehicles, imposition of penalty, and operation of slaughterhouses.

According to BBP authorities, the park needs 500-600 kg of meat a day. “We re-called tenders for meat of buffaloes above 13 years. The tender is getting finalised. Meat will be available in a week’s time,” Ms. Singh added.

Though the authorities did not notice any marked difference after chicken became the staple, they want to ensure animals’ nutritional needs are not compromised. “Even in nature, they eat fish and birds. But we need to give all nutrient values. So this alone would not be sufficient and complete food in nature. There is no research per say because the time was too short. So there is no inference without data. Now, We plan to give them a mix: beef for four days and chicken for two,” she explained.

Steady stream of visitors

Zoos in the State were hit severely due to the pandemic, lockdowns, and revenues drying up, but saw donations in the form of animal adoptions etc. Now, the park has started seeing a steady stream of visitors.

“The response to reopening has been wonderful. We have had very well-behaved visitors. The maximum number of visitors recently was 7,000 last Sunday,” Ms. Singh added.

Before COVID-19, the park saw around 17,000 visitors during holiday seasons such as Deepavali, New Year, Christmas, and Dasara, with the numbers even going up to 23,000 one time. “What we are getting now are serious visitors who want to learn, and want their children to see and learn too, which is the main purpose of zoos,” she added.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 1:50:55 AM |

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