Tribune News Service
Bathinda, April 24
From this week, Bir Talab Zoo will house three leopards. It will further help the authorities to attract visitors from neighbouring towns.
This will be the first zoo in this region that will have big cats.
“The leopards will be brought from Chhatbir Zoo near Zirakpur in the next three days,” said Sanjeev Tiwari, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Bathinda.
He said, “The leopards will be a big attraction at the zoo. The visitors will not be allowed to see the leopards for around 15 days as we have to observe the nature of animals. The construction work of 1,200 feet enclosure for the big cats has been completed. Besides, the staff have been trained. We have also got the permission from Centre and state government.”
“We have made all arrangements for housing the leopards. Their diet (meat) will come from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. One leopard usually eats four-kg meat in a day,” the DFO said.
The department has also planned to increase the strength of leopards from three to five in future.
The zoo authorities will have to pay only for the transportation of the big cats here as these are only being shifted from one zoo to the other.
Officials of the department said another much publicised tiger safari project would take some time to see the light of the day.
“We had demanded Rs 5 crore from the state government, but the demand was not met because of shortage of funds. We will now again raise the demand, but it may take some time,” they said.
Notably, the tiger safari was one of the dream projects of former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who had announced it about four years ago. Presently, the zoo has deer safari with more than 200 deer of different species, enclosures for simians and birds of some species. The authorities concerned also have a plan to bring crocodiles and hippos.
Bathinda, a hub of regional tourism
For the people living in neighbouring towns, Bathinda is a favourite destination for the weekends. Having lakes, gardens, multiplex, shopping malls, big hotels and restaurants, the town attracts a large number of people.
Arpit Garg, a commission agent from Mansa, said, “I will definitely take my kids to the zoo once the public is allowed to see the big cats. This will be the major attraction for people like us from neighbouring towns.” Similarly, Tarun Chawla from Abohar said, “To hang out with friends on weekends, I usually go to Bathinda. Next time, we will go to Bir Talab Zoo to see the leopards. The zoo authorities should also take up the matter of tiger safari with Manpreet Badal.”
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