The Alipore Zoo is expecting new inhabitants from Japan. If everything goes as planned, visitors to the zoo might get to see kangaroos once again. In October 2015, the last red kangaroo bred in captivity in India died in this zoo.
“We would be getting four grey kangaroos from Yokohama Zoo in Japan early next year. We have already got the necessary clearances from the union ministry and the central zoo authority,” said V K Yadav, member secretary of the state zoo authority.
In 2011 after a gap of more than 30 years, Alipore brought two pairs of red kangaroos from the Czech Republic in 2011. But tragedy struck when the first kangaroo, a one-and-a-half year old male, died in August 2011. The death toll mounted as the kangaroos died one after another.
Luckily one of the females had given birth to a joey, barely nine months before its death in 2012. But it died in October 2015.
Most of the kangaroos died of myopathy, a chronic disease which results in muscle degeneration affecting the heart and lungs.
“Grey kangaroos are, however, more hardy than their red counterparts. We will be keeping them in a larger enclosure that is being prepared now,” said zoo director A K Samanta.
Grey kangaroos, found in Australia, are one of the most populous of all kangaroos (with numbers in the millions). It is also the fastest of all kangaroos, reaching speeds of up to 70 km per hour.
The list of new attractions doesn’t end here though. While a zebra has already given birth to a calf in the wee hours of Monday, officials are expecting a giraffe calf very soon.
“Around 1 am on Monday a zebra gave birth to a calf in the zoo. Both mother and calf are healthy and doing fine. It was an ecstatic moment for us and a team comprising almost 15 officials, vets and zoo keepers remained awake throughout the night to tackle any eventuality,” said Yadav.
The zebra was in an advanced stage of pregnancy and zoo vets had advised to keep a round-the-clock watch. Authorities didn’t want to take any chances as a zebra calf had died during birth a few years ago. Officials formed small teams to monitor the zebra even at night over the past 10 days. A vet was kept on standby 24X7.
“It was around 1 am that we received a call that the baby had been delivered. We all rushed to check if everything was fine. With the help of a torch, we could see that the mother was trying to keep away the other zebras from coming near to the baby. The mother and her child were sent to a separate enclosure,” said Samanta.
Sources said that the mother-child duo would be kept away from visitors for the next few months and vets would be monitoring their health constantly.
They would be displayed at least after three to four months. The zoo now has six zebras including the newborn.