If you do not find many exotic or different varieties of animals at the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) here, that’s because the zoo authorities are finding it difficult to transport the mammals by air from different parts of the country.
To find a solution to this problem, zoo authorities across India are jointly preparing a draft, requesting the Central government to provide an aircraft for transport of animals.
Many animal exchange programmes have failed because of transport problems. For example, the BBP wanted to bring giraffes and zebras from the Mysuru zoo and send lions to a zoo in Rajasthan. But none of this could be done because transporting animals by road is not a good idea. There has been a delay in the arrival of Spectacled Langurs and Himalayan Black Bears from the Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary, Agartala, and Double Humped Camels from Ladakh for the same reason.
Since India doesn’t have aircraft large enough to house the animals, the mammals have to be transported by road. This takes at least 15 days, and sometimes a month, said Range Gowda, the BBP’s Executive Director.
According to him, transporting birds by road is easy, but not animals. “Even if we want to pay the airlines, the requests are denied. There is no exclusive aircraft in India to transport animals. Transporting them by road is very challenging. Animals have to endure bad roads, dust, people, changing weathers in every zone and stress,” Gowda explained to Deccan Herald. “That’s why their survival rate is low. In the past, animals have either died or fallen sick en route or died after reaching the destination. Transporting animals by road is expensive too. It costs around Rs 9-10 lakh.”
The BBP had made a list of animals it wanted to exchange. “We have many lions, tigers and elephants which we are willing to exchange for other exotic and rare animals. But other zoos are not coming forward because of transport problems. That’s why we are unable to show a varieties of animals,” Gowda added.