WILDLIFE: Snow leopard gets mate – Sikkim zoo joins captive breeding – sharing blood ties with Darjeeling for a better future ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Gangtok, June 28: The lonely days and the even gloomier evenings are over for Ravi. At least that is what the park authorities hope.
After spending four years of solitary life within a 1,015sqm enclosure, the brooding Ravi now has feline Malaika for company in the sylvan surroundings of the Himalayan Zoological Park near here.
It is difficult to say if there has been love at first sight between the two as Malaika has arrived only today and Ravi has been keeping a cool distance, spending hours under a tree. But their handlers are hoping that the two will strike a rapport soon and produce results, literally.
Ravi is a five-year-old male snow leopard that has been living in the park at Bulbuley, 10km from here, since 2006. Malaika, also of the same age, was brought to the park today from Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park in Darjeeling.
“The female snow leopard has been brought here as part of the captive breeding programme of Himalayan Zoological Park,” said the park’s additional director Gut Lepcha. He added that the Darjeeling park is the co-ordinating zoo under the Central Zoo Authority for captive breeding of the snow leopard.
“The Central Zoo Authority decided last year that the Himalayan Park would be a participating centre for the captive breeding of the snow leopard and hence the female animal has been sent here,” said Lepcha.
He said the next step would be to develop more infrastructure. “The current enclosure is suitable only for the pair. Once they breed in captivity, we have to strengthen our infrastructure,” said Lepcha.
The official said there was no fixed mating season for captive snow leopards.
“Now, we will be monitoring the progress of this pair after they get familiar with each other and how the captive breeding programme goes,” said Lepcha.
Himalayan Zoological Park is located at 5840ft and is spread over 230 hectares of mountainous land with terrain suitable for high altitude animals and birds.
It currently has 52 different specimens of birds and animals which also include the red panda and the Tibetan wolf.
Tusker goes on a rampage
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
A lone tusker that had come from Bihar by crossing the Fulhar on Sunday night went on the rampage at Mahanandatola and adjoining villages in Ratua block of Malda district, injuring one person and destroying five houses.
The villagers spent the night beating drums and bursting crackers but failed to drive out the animal. Although foresters were informed about the depredation, no officials visited the area till Monday afternoon.