Zoo agenda: Gorilla next

After two back-to-back international animal exchange deals in the year hit by COVID-19, the days may not be too far when the Mysuru zoo will be displaying gorillas.

Indian zoos do not have gorillas, and Mysuru zoo was the only one that once housed a gorilla. That western lowland gorilla — Polo — died a few years ago.

Last year, Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) member-secretary B.P. Ravi had urged the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Gorilla European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) coordinator, Neil Bemment, who was in Mysuru in connection with a workshop for Indian zoo veterinarians, to spare a gorilla pair for Mysuru zoo.

Polo was gifted to Mysuru zoo by the Dublin zoo in 1995. It passed away in 2014, after having lived without a companion for 18 years though the zoo tried to bring him a mate under animal-exchange programmes from abroad.

The zoo management had in the past corresponded with the Gorilla Foundation, a non-profit organisation coordinating gorilla programmes and exchanges with zoos across the globe, for acquiring a Gorilla pair. So far, the efforts have not been successful. Going by the zoo’s reputation internationally and the recent exchanges that were described critical ones, the zoo may strike a “positive deal” this time.

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