GUWAHATI, June 11: Visitors to the Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden here can look forward to refreshing sights of zebras from Israel and white-winged wood ducks from the Czech Republic, post pandemic.
Assam forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya on Friday revealed that four zebras from Israel would be brought to the zoo in exchange of two black panthers following an MoU with Reliance.
“Besides, four white winged wood ducks (locally called deo hah) will arrive from the Czech Republic. Enclosures for the new inmates are almost ready,” Suklabaidya said.
The minister, during a visit to the zoo to take stock of health conditions of zoo keepers and animals, also disclosed that two Black Panther cubs were born at the zoo on Friday while another two cubs were born a month and a half back.
The zoo has been closed to visitors since April 28 this year due to COVID-19.
The minister took a round of the enclosures along with principal chief conservator of forest, (wildlife), Amit Sahai and divisional forest officer, Assam State Zoo, Tejas Mariswamy, and enquired about the health of the animals.
“As of now, not a single animal has been affected by the disease,” he said.
The minister also took stock of the health condition and well being of the zoo keepers and thanked them for taking care of the animals during the pandemic.
Ten zoo keepers, who were earlier detected COVID-19 positive, have recovered, while one infected zoo keeper is in isolation.
Suklabaidya said the zoo has been following the protocols to prevent spread of COVID-19, including sanitisation of food.
He said fresh grass has been grown for the herbivores in the hydroponic system within a span of seven days.
Rhinos, deer, Nilgai and black bucks are being fed daily with fresh grass grown in the hydroponic enclosure.
The minister however informed that there are no immediate plans to open the zoo in the greater interest of the animals as well as zoo keepers.
“Till the COVID situation returns to normal, the zoo shall remain closed,” he said.