Lions And Zoos

This Indian state is planning its first lion safari (and it’s not Gujarat) | Kolkata

The Bengal Forest Department is planning to organize the state’s first lion safari in North Bengal, according to the state’s Forest Minister, Jyotipriya Mallick.

“We already have a tiger safari in North Bengal. Now we are planning to launch a lion safari in North Bengal. It would be the state’s first lion safari,” the minister said on Saturday.

The North Bengal Wild Animal Park in Siliguri, North Bengal was started in 2016 and the park now offers a tiger safari with around 11 tigers and a herbivore safari. The tiger safari covers 20 hectares.

“The lion safari master plan has already been drawn up. We will approach the Central Zoo Authority for permission by the end of this month,” a senior official with the state zoo authority said.

The state initially wants to bring in at least two pairs of lions and lionesses to introduce on the safari. The safari will cover approximately 20 hectares. Specially designed 20-seat mini-buses will go inside the park with tourists.

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“We will approach the central zoo authority and once we get permission, we will try to bring the lions from other zoos under an animal exchange scheme. For that, we should spare a few animals, which we have in excess in our park,” said a senior official at North Bengal Wild Animals Park.

At present, the tiger safari has about 11 tigers. Since 2019, eleven tiger cubs have been born in the park, although two of them died shortly after birth due to health issues.

“We are also trying to establish a tiger breeding and conservation center inside the park. A proposal in this regard will also be sent to the CZA shortly,” the official said.

The forest department is also working on plans to reintroduce tigers at Buxa Tiger Reserve in Alipurduar district in North Bengal and one-horned rhino at Patlakhawa in neighboring Cooch Behar district.