Zoo expert panel recommends hippo exchange

3 months ago 47

A three-member committee set up by the government to frame a comprehensive policy for the management of zoos has frowned upon separation of male and female animals in the city zoo to keep a lid on their numbers.

In its interim report submitted to Minister for Zoos J. Chinchurani, the committee has called for ending segregation of sexes in the case of hippos and gaurs. The two male hippos in the zoo have been housed in small enclosures, away from the seven females. It calls for tagging the female hippos and then letting three of them be with one male hippo and the four remaining female hippos with the other male hippo for a specific number of days in rotation under the supervision of the zoo veterinarian. This will increase genetic diversity and ensure healthy offspring.

The same should be done in the case of gaurs, the panel says, while in the case of hyenas, an exception can be made. The committee has also shown the green flag for handing over hippos at the zoo to the Greens Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre at Jamnagar in exchange for other animals. It has been pointed out the that the Greens Zoological Centre imports a number of animals, and a tie-up with it will benefit the Thiruvananthapuram zoo.

Revive advisory panel

It recommended reviving a zoo advisory committee, chaired by the Minister for Zoos, on the lines of zoos elsewhere in the country. The city zoo too used to have such a committee. The committee was important, as significant decisions related to the zoo could not be left only to a couple of people. Former Zoo Secretary M. Sivasankar too is learnt to have made a recommendation to this effect.

Taking note of the increase in built-up area, the panel called for limiting concrete structures so that the zoo remained a vibrant green lung of the city.

It has also been observed that though the population of oriental darters in the State has been declining, the pond and the aviary in the zoo house a good number of the birds. The zoo could become a conservation and breeding centre for the darters so that a plan for their wider reintroduction could be put in place.

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