Byculla Zoo spends ₹20 crore on empty cages | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Byculla Zoo spends 20 crore on empty cages

BySabah Virani
Sep 07, 2023 12:22 AM IST

“The process for getting new animals at the zoo takes time,” an official from the zoo said on the condition of anonymity. “We get the animals in exchange for others. We have to build the facilities for the animals first and then strike a deal with other zoos. The problem is that we currently do not have many excess animals to exchange. Hence, we are facing difficulty in acquiring new animals”

Mumbai: The Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan or the Byculla Zoo has spent nearly 20 crore on enclosures, of which 8.25 crore for lions, 7.15 crore for Indian boars or wild dogs, and 3.82 crore for otters, states an RTI application. The enclosures are, however, empty, and there is still no sign of these animals at the zoo.

The lion enclosure has been ready for more than two years, and a lion exchange programme was almost confirmed from the Sakkarbaug Zoo, Junagadh, in exchange for zebras from Israel, the official said, adding, “But at the last minute, the approval for zebras was redacted, and the exchange has been stuck ever since. Even now, there is no estimated time of arrival for the lions.” (HT PHOTO)
The lion enclosure has been ready for more than two years, and a lion exchange programme was almost confirmed from the Sakkarbaug Zoo, Junagadh, in exchange for zebras from Israel, the official said, adding, “But at the last minute, the approval for zebras was redacted, and the exchange has been stuck ever since. Even now, there is no estimated time of arrival for the lions.” (HT PHOTO)

“The process for getting new animals at the zoo takes time,” an official from the zoo said on the condition of anonymity. “We get the animals in exchange for others. We have to build the facilities for the animals first and then strike a deal with other zoos. The problem is that we currently do not have many excess animals to exchange. Hence, we are facing difficulty in acquiring new animals.”

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The lion enclosure has been ready for more than two years, and a lion exchange programme was almost confirmed from the Sakkarbaug Zoo, Junagadh, in exchange for zebras from Israel, the official said, adding, “But at the last minute, the approval for zebras was redacted, and the exchange has been stuck ever since. Even now, there is no estimated time of arrival for the lions.”

He added that lately, requests for lions have been made to the Sakkarbaug Zoo and Hyderabad Zoo in exchange for penguins, however, no response has been received yet. “The enclosure for the Indian boars or wild dogs is completed as well. On the other hand, work on the enclosure for the otters has been halted and will only restart when the animal is expected to come,” the official said.

Currently unused, the three enclosures are being maintained by the zoo administration.

Apart from the 20 crore which had been spent on three enclosures, the RTI – filed by Jeetendra Ghadge, an activist at The Young Whistleblowers Foundation – also highlighted that 29.43 crore have been spent on the maintenance of the penguins by the BMC between October 2018 and July 2023. This is apart from the 2.47 crore spent initially on their transportation and procurement of the animals.

“The trend of cost escalation and overpriced acquisitions seems to be a recurring theme in BMC affairs. It is a loophole that seems to allow opportunistic individuals to benefit without facing allegations of corruption, it is high time the BMC established stringent rules and regulations to curb these practices and stop the corruption,” Ghadge said.

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