Mumbai: BMC finds zebras it wants to exchange for lions

Updated: Dec 14, 2019, 08:03 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Zebras will be sent to Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh, Gujarat, who will send two pairs of lions to Byculla zoo

Pic for representation
Pic for representation

After a failed first attempt, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has managed to get three bids for the tender it floated to import two pairs of zebras, which will be given to Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh, Gujarat, in exchange of two pairs of lions. While the zebras are likely to be imported early next year, the civic body plans to ask the Sakkarbaug Zoo authorities to send at least a pair of lions once the agency is finalised.

The Byculla Zoo officials said that they would select one of the three agencies by next week. "Two agencies from Thailand and one from India have sent bids. We are examining their credentials. After that we will check their bids and select the best one," said Sanjay Tripathi, director of Byculla Zoo. He added that once the agency gets finalised, the standing committee's approval would be taken.

The arrival of the lions at Byculla Zoo got delayed after the Sakkarbaug Zoo asked for zebras in exchange. But Tripathi added that the process of getting the zebras and sending them to the Sakkarbaug Zoo was a long one and the civic body won't wait that much. "We plan to ask the Sakkarbaug Zoo officials to give us a pair of lions once the agency is finalised. They can give us the second pair once the zebras are imported," he said.

He added that the selected agency would have to procure the zebras based on guidelines laid out by the central government and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. "The agency will have to procure the zebras from a country that has been certified as free of glanders disease. While many countries in Europe, America and South America are free of this disease, there are a few countries that don't have the certification. The animals cannot be imported from there," Tripathi added. The zoo will then also need approvals from the Wildlife Board and the Central Zoo Authority.

Once finalised, the agency will have to locate and bring the zebras to India in two months. The animals will be procured from a foreign zoo under the animal exchange programme and the BMC will shell out around Rs40 lakh as handling and shipping costs.

Rs 40 lakh
Amount BMC will shell out as handling and shipping costs for zebras

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