Cheetahs may have arrived at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, but Mumbai will have to wait for one of its own for two and half years to see the arrival of any new species. The tenders of construction of new animal enclosures worth Rs. 291 crore have been scrapped in January following allegations of scam by the Bharatiya Janata Party. The civic body will now start the process of re-tendering soon, said the zoo official.
The Byculla zoo, popularly known as Ranibaug, is undergoing upgradation and renovation for the last few years. It is spread over 53 acres with extra 10 acres procured for expansion from Mafatlal Industries by the BMC in 2018. The BMC plans to bring in giraffe, zebra, white lion, black jaguar, chimpanzee, ostrich, okapi, ringtail lemur, and cheetah from an international zoo. These exotic species will be housed in new enclosures which would be constructed on the extra land procured.
Accordingly, a tender issuing process was initiated to construct new enclosures in the zoo. "Since the earlier tender was scrapped we will now start the process of re-tendering. First we will make arrangements for the new animals before bringing them in. This process will take at least two and half years," Dr. Sanjay Tripathy, Director of the zoo said.
The zoo, after 13 years, brought a pair of Bengal tigers - Shakti and Karishma - from Aurangabad. The female tiger gave birth to a cub - Veera - last year. A new pair of leopards were also brought from the Gorewada zoo in Nagpur.
However, the zoo has to wait for the lion (there has been no lion in the zoo since 2014) since the BMC's proposal to procure zebras from Israel has been rejected by the Directorate General of Foreign Trades (DGFT).
The zoo, built in 1982, presently is home to around 335 animals that include birds, reptiles, monkeys, crocodiles, an elephant, deer, a hippopotamus, penguins and birds.
"Since the earlier tender was scrapped we will now start the process of re-tendering. First we will make arrangements for the new animals before bringing them in. This process will take at least two and half years," said Dr. Sanjay Tripathy, Zoo Director