Delhi Zoo to soon welcome pumas from Russia



New Delhi: A pair of pumas will soon arrive from Russia to join several foreign-origin species like grey kangaroos and South American jaguars currently housed at the Delhi Zoo.

The pumas, also known as cougar, mountain lion or panther, are being brought from Krasnoyarsk Biota Park in Russia's Siberia region in exchange for a white tigress.

According to the zoo authorities the deal has almost been finalised and the pumas will arrive in Delhi after formalities are completed.

"We have got through with the proposal and are in talks with Russian authorities. The pumas will be here once we get the clearances from the CITES and required quarantine authorities," said Amitabh Agnihotri, director of the Delhi Zoological Park.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) currently ratified by over 160 countries, makes international trade in tiger parts illegal. Clearance from CITES is mandatory for any exchange of animals as India has been a signatory of the convention.

The puma is a large cat belonging to Felidae family. It is the second heaviest cat in the Western Hemisphere after the jaguar. Pumas are powerful predators and hunt by stalking and ambushing their prey. It is closely related to the panthers found in India.

"We have the required infrastructure at the zoo to keep endangered species like the puma," zoo curator Riyaz Khan said, adding the authorities were working on to improve the facilities at the zoo.

As part of the project, a glass enclosure for the White and Bengal tigers along with a den is being constructed to give their habitat a natural look.

"We are also putting up a glass enclosures for the birds section and a monkey island is also in the offing," Khan said. The Delhi zoo is also modernising its security and visitor amenity infrastructure with a wi-fi enabled canteen and security camera at the entrance, he said.

The authorities have also drawn up an elaborate plan for keeping the animals and birds in good shape during the peak summer months, the curator said.

The Delhi zoo attracts around 10,000 visitors including foreigners on weekends and holidays while on weekdays around 3,000 to 4,000 people visit the park.

PTI