iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Nikhil M Ghanekar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, August 19, 2013
After 4 days of relentless patience, tact, zoo authorities have managed to do what for a time seemed like an impossible task – getting Shiva, the belligerent one-horned rhinoceros, inside the transit cage which left for New Delhi on Sunday evening. As soon the door of the cage was shut on him, the 34-year-old rhino began grunting.

As there were no female rhinoceroses at Byculla zoo, Shiva has been celibate for over 2 decades and will now be reaching Delhi in three days where two female rhinoceroses await his arrival.

Captive rhinos attain sexual maturity by seven to eight years of age and as per Recognition of Zoo Rules, 2009, it is mandatory for every zoo to acquire mates for single or unpaired animals.

If any zoo housing a single animal is unable to find a mate for that animal, then it is supposed to shifted or exchanged.

Shiva, who has a reputation of being a hell-raiser, managed to evade the transit cage all these days even as caretakers and other zoo officials tried to bait him by offering more fruit.

On August 14, the obstinate rhino had sustained minor injuries after charging into the stone walls of his enclosure.

Zoo authorities had since been trying to entrap him in a transit cage to take him to Delhi.

On Sunday, he finally entered the cage and its door was shut immediately.

With the help of a crane and guided by 20 staffers from Byculla zoo, the transit cage was placed onto the truck that was supposed to transport him to Delhi.

As he was shut in the transit cage, his caretakers of over 22 years Ramesh Pawar and Ravindra Niwate began weeping.

“We have fed him for 22 years and cared for him. He responded to our calls and it hurts to see him leave. But life moves on and we are happy he is leaving in safely,” said Pawar.

After being placed in the truck, Shiva kept grunting for a while.

“We will pass via Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana and have taken enough sugarcane, bananas, bengal gram and vegetables. It will take us at least four days to reach Delhi,” said Dr.N.Panneer Selvam, veterinary officer, national zoological park.