‘Providing nutritional food to zoo animals is govt.’s responsibility’

Wild animals in zoos in the State and outside need to be fed the meat of cattle. But this is getting difficult due to beef ban in the State, Satish Jarkiholi, MLA, said in Belagavi on Tuesday.

He was speaking to journalists during a visit to Rani Kittur Channamma zoo near Mukti Mutt on Belagavi-Kolhapur road.

Providing nutritional food to wild animals in zoos is the State government’s responsibility. We expect the government take enough steps to provide proper food to the animals, he said.

“Not feeding them the designated meat in prescribed quantities could lead to malnutrition. That amounts to cruelty against animals. The State government should ensure that such things do not happen. It should make adequate provisions to exempt zoos from the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, he said. He noted that the Act had in-built exemptions like allowing slaughter of cattle aged 13 and those certified by veterinary doctors. Such exemptions should be extended to zoos,” Mr. Jarkiholi said.

Letter to govt.

Deputy Conservator of Forests M.V. Amarnath said the Karnataka Zoo Authority had written a letter to the State government seeking exemptions.

The zoo got three lions in February. In the coming days, it will get tigers, cheetah, bears, and other animals, Mr. Jarkiholi said. He said he had sanctioned some funds for the zoo while he was the Forest Minister. The zoo would be opened to the public in two months.

The zoo lies at the border of two States. It would be developed into a model zoo by spending around ₹50 crore over five years,” he said.

“The zoo needs around 1.5 lakh litres of water per day. The officers are trying to adopt rainwater harvesting methods within the 85-acre zoo. The State government is trying to provide treated water from Honaga industrial estate. We will also try to get water from the nearby Markandeya river,” the MLA said.

Conservator of Forests B.V. Patil said the zoo authority had launched a mobile app to allow philanthropists to adopt animals by paying the cost of maintenance per year. We are getting several inquiries, he said.

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