The civic-run zoo in Pune will soon have two new attractions for visitors - Indian giant squirrels and wild cats - officials said on Tuesday.
Their enclosures will be inaugurated on Wedneday, but since the zoo is currently closed due to COVID-19, people will have to wait to get a glimpse of these wildlife species.
The giant squirrel, also called Shekru, is the state animal of Maharashtra and is usually found in its natural habitat specifically in the Bhimashankar area of Junnar in Pune district.
A pair of the giant squirrels will be put up for display at the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park and Wildlife Research Centre, popularly known as the Katraj Zoo which is managed by the Pune Muncipal Corporation (PMC), said an official.
According to the official, the zoo authorities had rescued a female Shekaru and kept it with a male giant squirrel as part of a breeding programme. Their population has now increased to seven.
"Out of these seven, the elder male and female squirrels will be kept on display for citizens," said Kunal Khemnar, additional municipal commissioner.
Vasant More, a corporator from Katraj, the area where the zoo is situated, said, "There will be wild cats on display too." "The zoo has 10 wild cats, out of these six will be on display. There are different wild cats, including spotted ones. This will be a major attraction for citizens once the zoo opens to the public. Enclosures are ready," he said.
The new enclosures will be inaugurated by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Wednesday.
The zoo houses around 475 animals, including eight tigers, two lions, two elephants, one white tiger and leopards, among others. It also has a snake park.