By Kevin Mendonsa
Following directive from Central Zoo Authority (CZA), Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens (Mysore Zoo) has to shift few elephants to Koorgalli on the outskirts of City. The zoo houses 2 African and 8 Asiatic captive elephants.
In 2009, the CZA had issued a circular stating that all elephants, numbering about 140 in 26 zoos, and 16 circuses across the country, should be shifted to national parks, sanctuaries or tiger reserves at the earliest.
The circular stated that animals required large area to move around freely and that the environment of a zoo could be restrictive.
CZA argued that each captive elephant needs minimum 1.2 acre space for their good living and breeding. It said none of the Zoo’s in country has enough space, and hence the pachyderms be shifted to a better place.
“In response, the State Forest and Zoo officials argued that Mysore Zoo had provided enough space for elephants, and had implemented the enrichment programme. CZA officials who visited the Zoo contended with the arrangements made for the jumbos and directed that at least five elephants be shifted,” Mysore Zoo Executive Director B P Ravi said. He said currently 10 jumbos were housed in a three acre area. The zoo has a history of breeding captive elephants and natural set up has been created with installed water sprinklers, trees, wooden logs, and artificial hills.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed with CAZ recently, according to which the zoo will permanently house two African elephants, while three Asiatic elephants would be brought back to the zoo from Koorgalli on a rotation basis.
The Koorgalli centre was spacious and could accommodate five elephants, he added. The elephants will be shifted by the end of the year.
Mysore Zoo had also argued that visitors, especially children were fond of elephants because to its physical appearance. “If we ban elephants, the zoo will eventually lose its charm”, he added.
The CZA decision, however, proved helpful in bringing rescued, injured and abandoned elephants to the extension centre of the zoo.
The centre, Ravi said, has ample area and elephants from wild too can be housed for conservation.
According to the norms retirement age of an elephant in a zoo is 65 years.