he union territory of Jammu and Kashmir has a new pair of visitors and they are here to stay for a long time – we are talking about a pair of tigers that reached Jambu Zoo in Jammu city on Thursday. The news that a pair of Royal Bengal Tiger, the National Animal, aged 9 years reached Jambu Zoo Thursday from Aringar Anna Zoological Park, Chennai, Tamil Nadu has brought tremendous joy in the animal lovers of the whole union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Pertinently, the tiger pair has been brought here in exchange of a pair of Himalayan Black Bear from Jambu Zoo to Aringar Anna Zoological Park as part of an animal exchange programme. This type of exchange is very common between different zoos of the same state or between different zoos of different states or union territories. This is tremendous news for all the parents in Jammu city who don’t have to travel to Punjab or Delhi to show the king of beasts to their children. They now have a Royal Bengal tiger in a zoo which is very much in their backyard.
Kashmir valley has long wished for a zoo of its own somewhere in Srinagar or any other district. However, due to the acute cold winters, the feasibility of operating a zoo and the consequent huge expenses incurred in the functioning and maintenance has always made the prospect of having a fully functional zoo in Kashmir very low. However, when we say this, we have to be reminded that a majority of the zoos in the world are in countries which have a similarly harsh winter. How do they manage a zoo in that harsh winter? How does Russia, Poland, Iran and Finland maintain their zoos? There is something we need to learn from these countries.
With proper research and scouting we can definitely zero in on a place within the vicinity of Srinagar where we can develop a fully functional zoo. Zoo, we understand, needs sponsors, someone who adopts one or a group of animals and donates a sum of money that is spent in food, medicine, and maintenance of those animals in the zoo across a stipulated timeline. Before scouting for a place for the construction of a zoo we must solicit sponsors for this project. We understand that maintaining a zoo in winter months means a lot of expense and may entail a higher fatality number in the members of the animal family. This venture needs to be undertaken only after due consultation with the wildlife experts.
We have high hopes from LG Manoj Sinha that he will initiate a proper research and scouting process to this end. People in Kashmir valley especially from the lower income group also want to take their children on a zoo visit – all parents cannot afford a visit to either Delhi or in a good number of cases Jammu too.