As the big cats are welcomed into national park, the forest department says there are plans afoot to bring another pair to the city
The lions were released in the secondary enclosure of the SGNP, on Tuesday. Pic/Sameer Markande
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) on Tuesday welcomed a lion and a lioness, who were brought from the Sakkarbaug Zoological Park in Gujarat. The Maharashtra Forest Department said they will soon write to their Gujarat counterpart for another pair of the big cats.
Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar released the pair of lions into the secondary enclosure at the SGNP, at an event attended by MLAs Prakash Surve and Pravin Darekar; MP Gopal Shetty; principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) (wildlife), Maharashtra, Mahip Gupta; Clement Ben, additional PCCF (wildlife western region); and SGNP director G Mallikarjun along with other officials.
Speaking at the launch, Mungantiwar said, “We have released a lion and a lioness in the secondary enclosure. I feel happy about the fact that we have also done the inauguration of not just Maharashtra's, but also India's first conservation and breeding centre of the rusty spotted cat. Also, the toy train will be started soon with better facilities.”
Also Read: IN PHOTOS: Pair of lions brought from Gujarat released in SGNP of Mumbai
Mungantiwar also performed the bhoomi poojan of a forest library, which is the brainchild of MLA Darekar. It will help the researchers and students get insights about the rich biodiversity of the national park, Darekar said. Mungantiwar instructed the officials concerned to complete the library work by August 15. Mungantiwar also instructed Mallikarjun to explore the option of replicating the Talking Tree, which involves putting up a QR code on trees. The QR code will give the visitors information about the species of the trees at the SGNP.
On the toy train, Forest Secretary B Venugopal Reddy said, “RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Service) recently visited the SGNP for a survey of the iconic toy train--Vanrani--and gave us a presentation. We will soon ask them to prepare a detailed project report so that the famous train can be started again.”
The toy train travels around Krishnagiri Upvan, taking the visitors on a journey of the rich biodiversity across an area of approximately 5.5 sq km, reserved as an easily accessible public recreation zone. The remaining core area has restricted access. People from across India and even foreign tourists visit the national park. The SGNP is one of the most visited national parks within the city limits in the whole of Asia.