Zoo to fly in new animals | Sunday Observer

Zoo to fly in new animals

Pic Ranjith Asanka
Pic Ranjith Asanka

In our childhood, we listened to the story of a tortoise flying with the help of two cranes. “How can a tortoise fly?,” we kept asking mother. She did not know how to answer our questions. Yet, she did not stop telling us stories and we found many other animals who cannot fly in the real world but in her stories they flew.

Animals do fly from one country to another quite often. Instead of cranes and sticks, now they get on board and fly by way of an aircraft.

As a bunch of animals are supposed to arrive at the Dehiwela Zoo within the next couple of months, it is the perfect time to look into the story of their air travel.

Despite being a sanctuary, Dehiwala Zoo was the only place in our country which had easy access to observe animals. Its inception dates back to 1936. Later, a few other places like the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Pinnawala Zoo, Ridiyagama Safari Park and Gonapola Farm Park were introduced for the benefit of animal lovers, especially for children. Currently, there are some 2,500 to 3,000 animals belonging to some 250 species living in the Dehiwela Zoo.

The zoo administration cannot track the exact number of animals as there is a large migrant bird community living there.

As per development plans, the zoo administration is willing to add some foreign-born animals to the zoo sometime soon. This flock includes 15 bird species, a cheetah couple, a giraffe, three jaguars, four Nilgai antelopes and a few black buck antelopes.

“Initially, there were some difficulty in bringing down these animals. Finally, we received special cabinet approval to import them” Director General, National Zoological Gardens, Mrs. Dhammika Malsinghe told the Sunday Observer. Once an animal is brought to Sri Lanka, it is subjected to a specific duration of quarantine to prevent the spread of new deceases. The period differs from one animal to the other. In addition, the National Zoological Gardens has to adhere to the Flora and Fauna Act and receive a license from the Department of Wildlife when importing an animal.

(Translated by Rajitha Jagoda Arachchi)

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