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HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014

Kolkata zoo on the lookout for new pair of chimps

Saptarshi Banerjee , Hindustan Times  Kolkata, April 12, 2013
First Published: 17:53 IST(12/4/2013) | Last Updated: 17:54 IST(12/4/2013)

The authorities at Alipore Zoo are desperately eyeing a pair of chimpanzees to address the fast depleting count of the species at the facility.

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According to sources at the zoo, the chimpanzee family has lately been reduced to just one. Even Babu, a male and the only surviving member of the species at the facility, has reportedly grown very old and infirm. At 26, Babu isn’t getting any younger, thereby necessitating the zoo authorities to augment the count of chimpanzees at the facility.

The authorities are currently in the process of approaching other zoos across the country and enquire as to whether they have surplus chimps to spare. The city zoo authorities have reportedly set sights on sourcing a new pair at the earliest and breed them for more.

“We are looking to source a pair of chimpanzees from any zoo that could spare us a brace in exchange for any other animal. We have a surplus count of giraffes here and would like to hand them to any other zoo in return for a pair of chimpanzees,” KL Ghosh, director of Alipore Zoo, told HT.

“A chimpanzee can live for a maximum of 32 years and the only member at our zoo is 26 and fast getting on. Hence, it can’t be paired with a female of the species for breeding purposes and we would have to source a new pair from other such facilities in the country,” Dayanarayan Banerjee, a veterinary doctor at the zoo. We are prepared to trade a male giraffe for a pair of chimpanzees, Banerjee told HT.

However, despite sounding out other zoo authorities on the need for a pair of new chimps, the city zoo authorities haven’t received any word of hope in the matter. The other zoo authorities already approached in the matter have reportedly cited their inability to yield to the proposal, saying they don’t enough chimps to dispense with. The current situation has left the city zoo authorities scratching their heads for ways to augment the chimpanzee family.

However, an exchange of the kind the city zoo authorities are currently working on isn’t unprecedented, as it had formerly struck similar such deals with the Nandankanan zoo of Odisha and Patna zoo, said sources.

A male chimpanzee (24) died at the Alipore facility in July 2010, having lost its female partner a couple of months back. Babu has been the only surviving member since.


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