BANGALORE: The Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) is all set to acquire animals from South Africa, which is a hub of rare species of animals, for Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bangalore (BBP). While the century-old Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens has a collection of over 175 species, there are hardly 70-75 species in the BBP.
The Governing Council of the ZAK that met recently had planned for an ‘African Safari’ in search of rare species of animals like Giraffe, Zebra, Hunting Cheetah and African Rhinoceros, exclusively for the BBP. A team comprising ZAK Chairman Nanjundaswamy, member-secretary Suresh, BBP Executive Director Dr R Raju and Principal Secretary of Forests Koushik Mukherjee was supposed to leave on a 10-day tour to South Africa to select the wild animals that are found in abundance in private farms and in forests managed by the South African government. However, the tour is put on hold, following severe drought in the State.
Nanjundaswamy told Express that the ZAK did not mind purchasing animals from private farm owners in South Africa, provided the rates were within the reach. Many private farms in South Africa breed many wild animals since there is no government restriction there. The Karnataka Forest Department is preparing a list of such private farmers and plans to visit them.
“We will also explore the possibilities of procuring such animals from the South African government through animal exchange programmes. The only hitch is that the BBP did not have excess animals which could be exchanged with other zoos. So the option is to bargain with private farm owners and add the collection to the BBP. The deals will be totally transparent,” he added.