Zoo elephants may shift to Chhattisgarh | india | Hindustan Times
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Zoo elephants may shift to Chhattisgarh

Two female elephants that have spent 35 years in the confines of the Byculla zoo may soon have a new and bigger home in the tiger reserves of Chhattisgarh, forest officials announced on Monday.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2010 01:23 IST

Two female elephants that have spent 35 years in the confines of the Byculla zoo in Mumbai may soon have a new and bigger home in the tiger reserves of Chhattisgarh, forest officials announced on Monday.

Forest officials from Bilaspur visited the Byculla zoo and inspected the two pachyderms, Laxmi and Anarkali.

The inspection was carried out to decide if they can be shifted to one of the four tiger reserves in Bilaspur, namely, Indravati, Achanakmar, Udanti or Sitanadi.

The two elephants have to be shifted in keeping with the circular issued by the Central Zoo Authority.

In November last year, the authority issued a notice saying all elephants, numbering about 140 in 26 zoos and 16 circuses across the country, should be shifted to national parks, sanctuaries or tiger reserves as soon as possible.

The circular stated that elephants required a large area to move around freely and the environment of a zoo could be restrictive.

Anil Sahu, Chief Conservator of Forests of Chhattisgarh, inspected the animals, especially the elephants. Byculla zoo veterinary Dr Sanjay Tripathi said an ideal time for relocation would be around November or December.

“We require four elephants for our tiger sanctuaries. They will be used primarily by forest officials for conducting trails and patrolling the jungles as vehicles can’t be used for that,” said Sahu.

After observing Laxmi (53) and Anarkali (46), Sahu said although the elephants seemed to be in good health, they also seemed to be a bit old for patrolling.

“According to the rules, the retirement age of an elephant is 65 years. The elephants in the Byculla zoo are around 50 years or older. We will have to make necessary arrangements in order to rehabilitate them,” Sahu said.

“Sahu will be visiting the Aurangabad zoo which has two elephants, after which he will submit his report to the Chhattisgarh wildlife warden. The warden’s decision will be final,” said Tripathi.

The mahouts who are attached to the two elephants are worried about whether they will adjust to Chhattisgarh where the temperatures are extreme.