The Gopalpur Zoo in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh would reverberate with roars of Gujarat lions again which would be released in the enclosure soon.
Forest Minister Govind Thakur said a pair of lions from Gujarat has been brought to the zoo and at present, the department is completing all the formalities before they are released into the enclosure at the zoo.
“The lions (male and female) are being quarantined to familiarize themselves with surroundings and they are currently undergoing two-week acclimatization period at the zoo,” he added.
Forest department officials said lions take some time to acclimatization with surroundings and environment which is the reason that they are not being shifted to the enclosure at the zoo for public display.
The lions were screened by the team of Forest department experts and had been vaccinated after their arrival in the state.
The lions had been brought to Himachal Pradesh under animal exchange programme under which the state had sent a pair of Himalayan Black Bear to Gujarat.
It is worthwhile to mention here that Gopalpur Zoo didn’t have any lions since 2016 as the previous pair had died owing to age-related issues.
Since then, the Himachal Pradesh government was planning to bring lions to the zoo but the plan couldn’t materialize owing long distance from other zoos in the country and a limited number of pairs of the species.
The Forest department had written to Central Zoo Authority for bringing lions which had given permission to the Wildlife department to bring them from Gujarat in July this year.
After this, a team of veterinary experts had visited Gujarat and had completed formalities for bringing the pair to the state.
A team of officials from Forest department had gone to Gujarat in November this year and had the pair to Himachal last month.
Besides the lions, the Forest department had also brought a pair of Indian Gazelle from Haryana under animal exchange programme and had sent a pair of Himalayan Black Bear to the neighbouring state.
The Gopalpur Zoo is located in Gopalpur village of Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, around 220 km from here on Dharamshala-Palampur National Highway below majestic Dhauladhar Hills.
The zoo was founded in 1990 and it houses around 180 wild animals of 22 species which includes, leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Sambar deer, barking deer, ghoral, cheer pheasants, Bhutan Grey Peacocks, Red Jungle Fowl Peacocks, wild pigs, Indian crested porcupine, vultures and eagles.