Pandey said the animals will be transported once the weather becomes conducive as transporting animals in warm and humid weather is neither comfortable for the animals nor for those who care for them.
Delhi zoo will receive three lions — two females and one male — from Gujarat soon after it reopens its gates for visitors. The lions will arrive in the National Capital from Junagadh’s Sakkarbaug zoo and Kevadia zoo. Delhi zoo has only two lions at present and will likely conduct breeding upon the arrival of the animals. In turn, Delhi zoo will send hippopotamuses to the two Gujarat zoos.
Additionally, the Central Zoo Authority has also approved the transfer of two wild dogs as well as 10 Star tortoises to Delhi zoo from the zoo in Vizag, National Zoological Park, Delhi, Director Ramesh Pandey said. Delhi zoo doesn’t have these species yet.
Pandey said the animal exchange programme will begin by the end of August. Pandey said the animals will be transported once the weather becomes conducive as transporting animals in warm and humid weather is neither comfortable for the animals nor for those who care for them.
The zoo also has several more transfers in the works. It is working to bring two tigresses as well as two sloth bears from Nagpur’s Gorewada zoo, while Chennai zoo will send a male tiger. At present, Delhi zoo houses 1,162 animals of 94 species. The zoo authorities want to increase the number of species to 100. Pandey said the zoo is also mulling tree walks and bird-watching trips since it is home rare tree species.
Once it reopens, the zoo will operate in two slots — one from 8 am to noon, and the second from 1 pm to 5 pm. The zoo authorities will sanitise the premises during the one-hour window. It will permit the entry of 1,500 visitors in a single slot. All visitors will have to follow Covid-19 protocols, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
The zoo’s booking counters will not open and tickets can be bought online only through the website of the National Zoological Park. Online bookings will start from July 31. The zoo will not allow any food items to be carried inside the premises.
The zoo was closed for nearly a year, before opening its gates for about 10 days in April. It was forced to close again after Covid-19 cases in Delhi witnessed a spurt.