Bannerghatta tigers to roar in Kamalapur zoo

Bannerghatta tigers to roar in Kamalapur zoo
Come November, two tigers from Bengaluru’s Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) will roar in their new homes in Kamalapur, Ballari.

The Atal Bihari Vajpayee Zoological Park coming up in Kamalapur will get two tigers each from the BBP and the Mysuru zoo. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) have approved the tigers’ transfer and their shelters are being constructed in the new zoo.

“There are tigers in zoos in Mysuru, Shivamogga, Bengaluru and other places. But none to the north of Tungabhadra River. So, to make the new zoo more attractive and increase the footfall, a dedicated tiger safari is being created. A proposal for 10 tigers was placed, but to start with, we will have four,” B T Ravi, the director of the zoo, told DH. This will be the second zoo in Karnataka, after the BBP, to have tiger, herbivore and sloth bear safaris.

Old zoo to be closed

The zoo administration is closing down the existing zoo near the Hosapete railway station to make way for the new one in Kamalapur, near the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary and Hampi Kannada University. The zoo and the safaris will be inaugurated in November to coincide with the Hampi Utsav.

Four years ago, the Supreme Court had ordered that no new zoo can be opened but the existing ones can be expanded. “Since the existing zoo is very small (3.5 acres) and is located in the heart of Hosapete, expansion is not possible. The apex court and the CZA granted an exemption and permitted shifting the zoo to a bigger location (375 acres) on the condition that the existing one is closed down,” Ravi said.

The zoo administration has shifted 75 deer and 38 black bucks to the new location. Construction of the enclosures is underway. The zoo will house a total of 19 mammal species, 25 bird species and three reptiles. It will also house jungle cats, leopards and Nilgais (blue bulls), but there will be no elephants because of the high temperatures of Ballari.

Since the new zoo is near the Daroji sanctuary, it already has a healthy wildlife population, especially peafowls, peahens, mongooses, jackals, foxes and hyenas.

“The new zoo is just two kilometres from Hampi. Many people visit Daroji for safari. Besides, since Hampi is also a popular place, the new zoo will get high footfall. Locals will get to see tigers roaring in the safari. We cannot close down the existing zoo immediately. It is being done in a phased manner,” the zoo director said.

Since the new zoo is adjacent to the Forest Department’s interpretation centre, both the departments are discussing linking it with the zoo so that visitors can learn more about the animals and see the dedicated film on sloth bears.
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