Mumbai: The BMC’s hunt for zebras for Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan (Byculla zoo) has failed despite eight months of relentless efforts. The civic body has not received a positive response from international zoos in America and Europe since July 2022. Owing to this delay, citizens will also have to wait longer for the arrival of lions.
Lions in exchange for zebras
Two years ago, the BMC decided to bring in two pairs of lions from Junagadh and Indore in exchange for zebras, which were to be bought from Ramat Gan Safari Park in Tel Aviv, Israel, at a cost of ₹80 lakh. The proposal was sent to the Directorate General of Foreign Trades (DGFT). However, as Israel is not in the updated list of the ‘World Organisation for Animal Health’, the DGFT rejected the proposal in July 2022.
As a result, the BMC was forced to contact other countries for zebras.
The Byculla zoo has been undergoing upgradation and renovation for the past few years. There is also a plan to add 10 acres to the existing 53-acre expanse. In Feb 2020, a pair of Bengal tigers – Shakti and Karishma – were brought from Aurangabad and the female gave birth to a cub, Veera. A pair of leopards was also brought from Nagpur’s Gorewada zoo in 2022. However, the zoo does not have a lion after the death of lone lioness, Jimmy, in 2014
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