Decision to shift elephants from Byculla zoo to come next month | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Decision to shift elephants from Byculla zoo to come next month

The fate of the two elephants in Byculla zoo will be decided in the next one month.

mumbai Updated: Jun 24, 2011 01:25 IST
Bhavika Jain

The fate of the two elephants in Byculla zoo will be decided in the next one month.

A two-member expert committee visited the zoo on Thursday evening, to check if the two female elephants, Laxmi, 53, and Anarkali ,46, could be exempted from the central zoo authority’s (CZA) directive about shifting elephants in captivity to sanctuaries or national parks. “Most likely that these two elephants will be exempted as they are old and will not be able to be rehabilitated,” said a CZA official.

Following the CZA directive in November 2009, the zoo officials had written to them on several occasions asking them for an exemption for the two elephants on grounds that they were aged and would not be able to adapt to the new surroundings, or fend for themselves.

A two-member team from the elephant inspection committee formed by the CZA visited the zoo and took details about the animals, their feeding pattern and their routine.

“These two experts are on a visit to all the zoos that have asked for an exemption. They will submit their report to us in a month, based on which we will decide on the exemption,” said Brijkishore Gupta of the CZA.

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

The elephants have been in captivity for more than 35 years. Currently both of them have one common enclosure of 4000 sq feet in area.

Forest officials from the Bilaspur reserves had inspected the elephants, to check if they were fit to be sent there for patrolling duty. They were found to be too old and were rejected.

As per rules the retirement age of an elephant is 65 years. The Byculla zoo elephants are around or above 50 years and no sanctuaries or national parks are willing to accept them.

The Byculla zoo authorities had also written to the state’s chief wildlife warden and the conservator of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivli, suggesting that the two zoo elephants be relocated to the national park. The wildlife department rejected the suggestion saying that the park was not equipped to keep elephants.