Long wait ends as Mysuru zoo gets two male gorillas from Germany

It also gets two pairs of orangutans from Singapore and Malaysia in exchange for giraffes

The Mysuru zoo’s long wait for displaying gorillas after the death of Polo, the Western Lowland gorilla that died in 2014, has at last ended with the zoo getting two male gorillas from Germany.

The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA)-Gorilla European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) agreed to spare the gorillas after the zoo’s persistent and long-drawn correspondence with it.

The 14-year-old Thabo and 8-year-old Demba arrived here on August 19 from Germany and are currently in quarantine.

The zoo management had talks with the Gorilla Foundation, a non-profit organisation coordinating gorilla programmes and exchanges with zoos across the globe, in the past for acquiring a pair of gorillas.

Polo was gifted to Mysuru zoo by the Dublin zoo in 1995. It passed away in 2014, after having lived without a companion for 18 years even though the zoo tried to bring him a mate under animal-exchange programmes from abroad.

Zoo Executive Director Ajit Kulkarni told The Hindu that the EAZA-EEP spared the animals for nothing in return. “We need to take proper care of these animals which will be monitored by the donor,” he said.

“The gorillas are in quarantine and will be put on display soon, maybe during the ensuing Dasara festivities, once we get the clearances” he replied.

The Mysuru zoo is the only zoo in the country to house gorillas. When Polo was alive, the zoo was then the sole zoo housing the animal.

The gorillas will be displayed in the newly-constructed enclosure, which was built by Infosys Foundation at a cost of ₹2.5 crore. This infrastructure played a key role in acquiring the animals, the director said.

Orangutans from Singapore

The zoo also got two pairs of orangutans from Singapore and Malaysia as it managed to strike another major international animal exchange deal.

The 17-year-old male, Merlin, and 13-year-old female, Atina, arrived from Singapore zoo while five-year-old male, Afa, and the 7-year-old female, Minnie, were brought from Malaysia zoo. In return, the Mysuru zoo has given two pairs of giraffes.

According to the zoo records, the last time the zoo displayed orangutans was in the 70s and the zoo authorities’ best efforts thereafter to get an orangutan pair did not materialise.

A natural enclosure for orangutans has been built at a cost of ₹70 lakh with funding from the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran, Mysuru.

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