Assam: State zoo gets zebras after 3 decades; lone giraffe now has company
Giraffe and Zebras at Assam State Zoo

GUWAHATI: Assam environment and forest minister Chandra Mohan Patowary , on Monday released a female giraffe and two zebras at the Assam State Zoo and Botanical Garden at Guwahati.

The giraffe, aged five years, was brought from Patna, Bihar. With the addition, the lone male giraffe at the zoo found its mate.

The two zebras, one male and one female, were brought from Mysore, Karnataka and they are aged one-year-old and three-years-old respectively.

Speaking to media persons after the programme at the state zoo, the forest minister hailed the occasion as special, informing that new zebras have come to Assam State Zoo after nearly 30 years.

Patowary hoped that the zoo authorities would be able to take good care of the animals and increase their population. He named the zebras as Joy and Joya.

The minister also said that the newly brought female giraffe would be a good company to the lone male giraffe at the zoo.

Naming the giraffes as Bijay and Bijaya, the minister expressed optimism that the giraffe population at the zoo would increase in the coming years.

Patowary informed that a number of steps have been taken to develop the infrastructure of the zoo. A detailed project report (DPR), he said, was also prepared for reconstruction of the facility.

‚ÄúTourist footfall has also been increasing in recent years and steps are being planned for development of amenities for visitors to the zoo, besides improving facilities for the animals,‚ÄĚ he said.

Principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) and head of forest force (HoFF) M.K. Yadava; divisional forest officer of the Assam State Zoo and Botanical Garden Ashwini Kumar and other officials were present during the occasion.

The development augurs well for the state zoo given that it had hogged headlines last winter for the wrong reason when activists of the Chiriakhana Suraksha Mancha staged a sit-in protest against the alleged transfer of several species of animals from the state zoo to a private zoo in Gujarat.

The Mancha, formed in 2017 to ensure the well-being of the Assam State Zoo, had in December last year alleged that nine species of monkeys, two rhino calves, several eight-horned deer, among other animals, were taken away in two trucks and three small vehicles from the state zoo during the wee hours.

Notably, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Assam State Zoo and the zoo in Gujarat on August 14, 2020. According to official sources, the memorandum was signed to facilitate technical and scientific exchange between the zoos.  

According to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) rules, such exchange can take place only between government zoos and not between a government and a private zoo.

Allegations were also made by the Mancha that exotic and precious wildlife from the Northeast have been finding a way to the international market through unscrupulous means over the past few years.

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In November last year, the Assam Youth wing of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had moved the Gauhati High Court, seeking its intervention to stop the illegal transfer of wild animals from the state to Gujarat.

It was alleged that 25 exotic animals from Assam State Zoo were transferred to the zoo in Gujarat.

Also Read |  Assam: Singer Joi Barua recreates Nilmani Phookan‚Äôs poem into song

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