Exclusive leopard safari in Bannerghatta park soon

Exclusive leopard safari in Bannerghatta park soon

The Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) here will soon have an exclusive leopard safari, the first of its kind in the country.

A proposal for the safari was cleared last week by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK). The safari is part of the recently approved master plan for improving the BBP.

BBP Director Range Gowda told Deccan Herald: “The safari design is ready and tenders will be called soon. We have identified 25 acres adjacent to the existing tiger and lion safaris for this. The estimated project cost is Rs 3 crore. However, since we do not have the required funds, we are approaching corporates to help us. They can contribute under the corporate social responsibility scheme and get tax exemption.”

The CZA and ZAK had rejected the proposal many times on the grounds that leopards are generally shy and tend to jump fences onto safari vehicles. “It took us a long time to convince them that we would cut tall trees, create tall fences and instal sheets atop fences to avoid any untoward incident. Also, regular safari buses will not be used here.

We will start construction in three months and aim to complete it at the earliest,” said Gowda.

The BBP houses 24 leopards, most of which were rescued from the wild. But only seven will be showcased in the first phase as they were born and grew up in the BBP and are used to human presence.

The remaining are wild, and there are chances that they would shy away from humans or react unexpectedly. Apart from the safari and crawling areas, separate shelters will be built for each leopard.

The BBP is a major leopard and tiger rehabilitation centre, and has been housing rescued wild animals. It has 34 tigers, of which people can see 20.

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