BHUBANESWAR: The Covid-19 pandemic has ruined Nandankanan Zoo’s plans to procure exotic animals including a pair of African cheetah.
The zoological park is not in a position to bring the exotic animals from abroad owing to loss of revenue in the last fiscal and the first two months of present quarter, sources said.
In 2019, the zoo had received approval from the State government to bring a pair of African cheetah, wallabies and five zebras from abroad.
The officials had sought permission from the Central Zoo Authority (CZI), Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and other authorities concerned to go ahead with the plan.
The officials had also held talks with the International Zoo Services, a consultancy group that has specialised in relocation of animals.
The CZI initially didn’t give approval for procurement of African Cheetah without citing any reason.
However, by the time efforts were made to take up the matter with the CZI again, Odisha came under the grip of the pandemic and the zoo remained shut for over six months till October 2020.
“The footfall to the zoo remained low despite its reopening due to Covid restrictions which are still in force, affecting revenue collection. From around Rs 15 crore in 2019-20, the revenue came down to around Rs 5 crore in 2020-21 fiscal. In such situation, the zoo is not in a position to take up the matter as bringing the exotic animals, readying their enclosures and upkeep may run into crores of rupees,” a senior officer said.
Besides, there is a possibility of the animals getting exposed to the coronavirus during their shifting, he added.