Mutton diet for Zoo animals as beef is banned

Mysuru: Following the Centre’s decision to ban beef, authorities of Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, popularly known as Mysore Zoo, is all set to change the menu of carnivorous animals.

Big cats like the tigers, lions, leopards and other carnivorous animals like hyena, wild dogs and wild cats will be fed mutton and chicken. The Zoo will have to give up buying cow and buffalo meat as cattle (as per the notification issued by the Union Environment Ministry), covers all bovine animals, including bulls, cows, buffalo, steers, heifers, calves and camels.

The Zoo procures 310 kilograms of beef every day through a contractor. It needs 113.15 tonnes of beef every year for its carnivorous animals. “We will have to switch to mutton and chicken to replace beef,” Zoo Authority of Karnataka Chairperson Mallige Veeresh told Star of Mysore this morning.

“Beef is a major source of nutrition for carnivorous animals. Usually we feed bigger cats with beef as it is solid to bite. They will now have to be fed with mutton and smaller carnivorous animals will have to be given chicken pieces,” she said.

But it will not be easy for the Zoo management to switch to mutton all of a sudden. While a sudden change in the food pattern would affect animals, purchasing mutton will be an expensive affair. A kilogram of beef costs Rs. 200 while mutton costs Rs. 450 per kilogram and during festivals, the prices touch Rs. 600.

Going by the present requirement, the Zoo has to spend Rs. 1,39,500 every day to procure 310 kilograms of mutton at a price of Rs. 450 per kilogram. Even if the meat is purchased in bulk rate, that too will be expensive,said Zoo sources.

There are over three lions and seven tigers at the Mysuru Zoo. An adult male lion or a tiger is currently fed 15 kilograms of beef while an adult lioness consumes up to 12 kilograms. Cubs consume four to six kilograms depending on their age and built.

The Zoo management has to float a new tender now for the supply of goat and sheep meat.