Less than a year after arrival, four-year-old giraffe Gowri has become the darling of visitors to the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP).
But the single giraffe has to wait until elections to get a companion. Gowri’s loneliness has become a matter of worry for zookeepers and visitors alike. Staffers offered the stock reply “we’re working on it” when visitors urged them to find her a company. But they changed the response in the last few days and instead tell them “after elections.” The BBP management would get the governing council’s clearance to get a giraffe pair from South Africa after the model code of conduct is lifted. The council comprises heads of all zoos in Karnataka and meets frequently to review their administration. “The file to be tabled before the governing council is ready.
Though zoo authorities of Karnataka and India have orally agreed, written formalities will be carried out after elections. Work to get a giraffe from South Africa will then begin in earnest,” said Sanjay Bijjur, BBP Executive Director. After Gowri, the park hoped for a second giraffe to arrive from the Mysuru zoo, but staffers there are reluctant since the male allotted for transfer is too young. The park missed the chance to have a South African giraffe in 2016 due to worries over transportation. Park authorities would not like Gowri to suffer the same way as Bholu, the lone zebra that stayed single for a decade and died three years ago. Gowri was born on December 19, 2015, to Krishnaraja and Lakshmi in Mysuru zoo. She stands 13.5 feet tall.
Bijjur said the zoo is getting Elands and White Lions from South Africa. “Work is on to appoint a quarantine officer and a veterinarian. The animals will be transported to Bengaluru and will be quarantined for at least two months before visitors can see them,” he said. The BBP is getting two pairs each and all permissions for the animals have been obtained, he added.