Mysore, June 26 (JP)-The Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens or Mysore Zoo, as it is more popularly known, will in the next couple of months have four African Cheetahs flying in from Dublin Zoo to take residence here in Mysore in an animal exchange programme. In exchange for the four Cheetahs, two juvenile elephants will be flown from Mysore Zoo to their home in Dublin.

Speaking to Star of Mysore, Mysore Zoo Executive Director D. Yatish Kumar said the ne-gotiations that had been going on for some time had come to a successful conclusion. Kumar also said that in the interaction meeting that was held recently by the Wildlife Board Vice-President and cricketer Anil Kumble with various Deputy Conservators of Forests did not discuss this issue as it would be discussed and debated at the Zoo Governing Council meeting to be held on June 26.

K. D. Belliappa, Zoo Deputy Director, told SOM that in addition to the four Cheetahs, the city Zoo would also be getting two lions from the Junagadh Zoo in Gujarat. Belliappa said that the lions in the Zoo were hybrids of Asiatic and African lions and with the two arrivals, the Zoo hopes to breed pure Asiatic lions.

Agreeing with SOM’s contention that world over cheetahs have a bad record breeding in Zoos, Belliappa said that they could only try and was sure that they would succeed.

There are two Cheetahs species, the African one and Asiatic one which is now extinct. The last Asiatic Cheetah in the wild was shot in 1951 as reported by naturalist E.P.Gee. There are archival records of Asiatic Cheetahs being used for hunting black buck in Rajasthan and Punjab.

In the case of the Asiatic lion, which is a distinct species, it once roamed widely even far down as the Deccan Plateau and there are records in the old Imperial Gazetteers of lions being shot in various parts of northern India. There are less than 300 lions in the Sasan Gir Asiatic Lion Wildlife Park in Gujarat.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore