Plans are afoot to start a lion breeding centre at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Zoological Park at Bilikal reserve forest near Kamalapur in the taluk.
The project report for the same is being formulated by the Forest department. Gir National Park in Gujarat, which has a conducive environment for the Asiatic lions, has the highest number of big cats in the country. The climatic condition of Bilikal forest and Gir is similar. Four lions - Kesari, Dhananjay, Prema and Radha - housed at the zoological park safari have acclimatised well.
Deputy Conservator of Forests, Sonal Vrishni, told DH, "The maximum temperature at Gir hovers in the range of 40 to 45 degrees Celsius while it is 38 to 42 degrees in Bilikal reserve forest. Hillocks dotted with bushes here are perfect for lions. The area is just tailor-made for breeding of the endangered species. Hence, we are planning to start a breeding centre for captive lions."
In a first for North Karnataka, the zoological park will soon get a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre. The works for the centre are underway and are expected to get over in a month or two, she informed.
"There are several zoos/zoological parks in north Karnataka. If the animals get injured in a territorial fight or for some reasons, they will be treated here," the DCF said.
Brace for white tiger roar
The deputy conservator of forests said that there the Atal zoological park would get a white tiger soon. "A proposal for white tiger had been sent to the Zoo Authority of Karnataka. The park will get the white tiger once the authority gives its nod," Sonal Vrishni told DH.
The zoological park houses two male tigers - Vayuputra and Prithvi, and as many tigresses - Sindhu and Ramya. Chamundi (tigress) has been sent to Bannerghatta for treatment. There are plans to submit a proposal for two more tigers and lions, the DCF said.