Primates settle into their new home at Mysuru Zoo
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Primates settle into their new home at Mysuru Zoo

October 2, 2021

New guests: Four orangutans from Singapore and two gorillas from Germany

Mysore/Mysuru: Coinciding with 412th Dasara, the Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens (Mysuru Zoo) has achieved the rare distinction of being the only Zoo in India to possess gorillas and orangutans along with a white rhino and African cheetahs. 

While the white rhino and cheetahs were the acquisitions in the past, gorillas and orangutans have come recently to the Zoo and will be open for public display soon. The Zoo struck a major international animal exchange deal where two pairs of orangutans have come from Singapore. Likewise, two male gorillas have come from Germany. 

The gorillas are named Thabo (14) and Demba (8) and are males and in the next step, Germany will dispatch a family group to be housed in the Mysuru Zoo. The orangutan pairs are named Afa (male, 5 years) and Minnie (7 years female) and Merlin (17 years male) and Atina (13 years female). All the primates are under quarantine and medical care now, Zoo Executive Director Ajit M. Kulkarni told Star of Mysore this morning.

Male giraffes in exchange

It has been a long-cherished wish of the Zoo management to house orangutans and gorillas. An orangutan housed at Nandankanan Zoo in Odisha died last year. In return for the orangutans, the Zoo has given two male giraffes to the Singapore Zoo.

The last time the Zoo displayed orangutans was in the 70s and the Zoo authorities’ best and relentless efforts since then to get an orangutan pair did not materialise. The Zoo has constructed enclosures for orangutans similar to the natural enclosures constructed for African cheetahs. “Germany gave the gorillas free of cost and soon they will hand over a family group of gorillas,” Kulkarni added. 

Stringent guidelines

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For the international animal exchange to work, a lot depends on how the animals are taken care of. “Primates are sensitive and the Germany and Singapore authorities have assessed the capabilities of the Mysuru Zoo and were confident that we could take care of the primates. All the animal exchanges are governed by the stringent European Association of Zoos and Aquaria Guidelines for the accommodation and care of animals in zoos,” he explained. 

The Mysuru Zoo has conformed to all the rules and regulations and as such the animals are procured. “We had a gorilla named Polo and it died in 2014 and orangutans were under our possession 50 years ago. There have been continuous efforts to procure the primates and now it has been materialised,” he added. 

Primate enclosures

On the enclosures for the primates, the Executive Director said that the Zoo has been reworking on its enclosures following suggestions by experts from across the globe where iron grills of the rooms are being replaced with stainless steel with a raised enclosure height.

“These enclosures are natural and have been designed as per international standards and we have focussed on the comfort, safety and hygiene of the primates,” he added. 

Infosys Foundation Chairperson Sudha Murty has sponsored the upgraded enclosures.

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