RANCHI: A white tiger and a Royal Bengal tiger in exchange for one male and two female ostriches—that’s the deal Ranchi’s Birsa Zoological Park has struck with Kanan Pendari Zoological Garden in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh.
The big cats are expected to land at the Ranchi zoo by June-end, forest officials said. In turn, the three ostriches—the birds have been breeding successfully, thanks to the natural environment re-created for hatching—will go to the Bilaspur zoo.
L R Singh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wild Life), said, “We have cleared all formalities and permission from the Central Zoo Authority has been taken. The exchange is likely to take place latest by June 30.”
There are 12 ostriches in the zoo and they have been the centre of attraction for visitors, especially children, he said. There are six tigers (three adults and three cubs) but none is white.
Singh said the exchange deal was a good one as the ostrich count has been steadily increasing at Ranchi zoo.
“Ostriches cannot breed in captivity but their numbers have been increasing at Birsa Zoo. This is third time they are breeding since they were brought here,” he said.
The zoo has developed a protocol for natural hatching of ostrich eggs which was quite unusual, he said. Since there were more ostriches in the zoo than required, authorities were all for striking exchange deals and bringing in different animals.
“Exchanging ostriches for tigers is really a good deal as for us as we have ostriches in plenty,” he said. Standard operating procedures and transportation protocol are followed while implementing the deals.
“Soon, a team accompanied by a veterinary doctor will leave for Bilaspur with ostriches and return with the tigers in the same cage vehicle,” he said. “Once the process is complete, Ranchi zoo will have a white tiger as an added attraction. Only Tata Zoo in Jamshedpur has this animal.”
Birsa zoo is spread over 14 hectares and is divided into a zoological park and a botanical park. Earlier, the zoo had brought in hippos from Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar.