Wanted: Four zebras, to trade for 4 lions

Mumbai: Third time's the charm? After two failed attempts, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo (Byculla Zoo) are all set to float tenders for the third time, in their bid to import two pairs of zebras, to be given to the Sakkarbaug Zoological garden in Junagadh, Gujarat, in exchange for two pairs of lions. The civic body will float the tenders this week, inviting agencies for procurement of zebras.

The arrival of the Asiatic lions at Byculla Zoo was delayed after the Sakkarbaug Zoo sought zebras in exchange. While the zebras are likely to be imported late this year, the civic body plans to ask the Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden authorities to send at least one pair of lions, once the agency is finalised. Director of Byculla Zoo Dr Sanjay Tripathi added that the process of obtaining the zebras and sending them to the Sakkarbaug Zoo is tedious and the civic body is not ready to wait that long. "We had asked the Sakkarbaug Zoo officials to give us a pair of lions as soon as the procurement agency is finalised. They can give us the second pair once the zebras are imported. However, we have got no response during the bids delaying the process further," he said.

As part of the second phase of its revamp project, the Byculla zoo will be setting up enclosures for as many as 17 exotic animals in the next two months. Presently, the zoo houses 350 species of living organisms, including 25 avians and 10 reptilians. Of the 17 viewing enclosures, seven are complete.

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