Monday, March 30, 2009

Junagadh zoo, proud owner of two Cheetah couples

The Junagadh Zoo in Gujarat has shot into the limelight for being the only place in India to possess two pairs of rare and endangered Cheetah.
The four wild cats, who were flown in here yesterday from a Singapore zoo in exchange for two Asiatic lioness and a lion, were trying to adapt to their new habitat at Sakkarbag Zoo in the Gir forest area here.
Sakkarbag Zoo superintendent V M Rana told UNI today that the Cheetahs have been kept in quarantine as there is a danger of their getting some infection.
A special reverse osmosis water plant has been installed to provide pure water to the Cheetahs, Mr Rana said adding that the animals were being served hygienic food under the supervision of veterinary doctors and other experts, who are keeping a round-the-clock vigil using close circuit televisions.
Cheetahs, considered the fastest animal, have become extinct from the country during 1947 and from almost all the jungles of Asia since last 80 years.
Those kept in few zoos have also perished.
Under the exchange programme, Cheetahs have been brought here from Singapore for breeding purpose in a closed enclosure and later if the experiment succeeded, the wild cats would be released in the Gir forest, the abode of Asiatic lions.
According to Mr Rana, the Sakkarbag zoo has over 900 wild animals, including 42 lions and 48 leopards. Over eight lakh people visit the zoo every year.
He said the Cheetah was said to have been last spotted in Vankaner in the Saurashtra region in 1910. The city has a place called ”Cheetah Khana Chowk” which establishes its connection with the endangered animal.
The Nawab of Junagadh Mahobatkhan had Cheetahs in his personal zoo some 150 years ago and he was the one to have established the Sakkarbag Zoo in 1863.