The animal may soon roam the living spaces allotted for it in the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens in the city if the government’s plans to procure two pairs of hunting cheetahs from Leipzig Zoo in Germany comes through.
The procurement of the cheetahs is in the last stages of completion, sources told Deccan Herald. The Central Zoo Authority and Ministry of Ecology, Environment and Forests have given their nod and all that is required is a letter of consent from the Director General of Foreign Trade. Once that is through, the cheetahs would be on their way to Chennai from Germany and then to Mysore in a special vehicle.
In exchange, the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens would give Leipig Zoo two female elephant calves. Other than this, the Mysore Zoo would incur no expenses, as the cost of transfer of the cheetahs would be borne by the German Zoo, sources said.
The cheetahs will be housed in living spaces to be built near the rhino’s enclosure in the Mysore Zoo.
Efforts are also being made to give them the same living conditions they had in the German Zoo. Yet Indian conditions is expected to suit the animals, for as per archival records, India has been a natural habitat of the cats. Even the name of the animal stemmed from Sanskrit and means ‘speckled’.
Hunting accounts of rulers and records kept by pre Independence ecologists show they roamed freely in areas of Asia extending upto Israel. But now, the number has drastically reduced and there are just 60 of them, hiding in remote corners of Kavir Desert in Iran.
The proposal to get cheetahs for the Mysore Zoo has been long pending, and would not have gained speed but for the personal interest shown by Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh to get permission from various government agencies including Union Ministry of Commerce under which Director General of Foreign Trade comes.
If the pair arrives from Germany, Mysore Zoo will be the second after the Junagadh Zoo to house cheetahs.
The Zoo has been trying since 1970 to add a cheetah to its stock of animals. In 1981, it had brought one from the Kanpur Zoo in exchange for a spider monkey, but the animal did not survive for long. In 1984, a cheetah was shipped from Metro Toronto Zoo in Canada, but it survived here for just three and a half years.