Good tidings for Darjeeling Zoo amid lockdown

Good tidings for Darjeeling Zoo amid lockdown
Darjeeling: Lockdown has brought in good tidings for the world famous Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (Pnhzp) popular as the Darjeeling zoo. Three blue sheep kids and 3 red panda cubs were born in captivity recently. "Two Blue Sheep kids were born at the breeding centre at Dow Hill, Kurseong, and one at the Darjeeling Zoo. Three Red Pandas were also born on June 27. All the newborns are in good health," stated Dharamdeo Rai, Director, PNHZP. A male Blue Sheep kid was born on Sunday at Dowhill breeding centre; a female kid on June 26 also at Dowhill and a male kid at the zoo on July 6.

Darjeeling Zoo had got the first pair of Blue Sheep in November 2009 from Okinawa Zoo, Japan becoming the first zoo in the country to own Blue Sheep and Himalayan Tahr then. The Blue Sheep (Pseudois nayaur) or Bharal is a wild sheep found in the Himalayas. With the newborn cubs (sex not determined) the count of red pandas have gone up to 24 (13 females and 8 males) at the two breeding centers and the zoo. Meanwhile the two red pandas Joel and Shine gifted to the Tierpark Zoo in Berlin, Germany, by the Darjeeling zoo in February this year also gave birth to a cub on June 5. Incidentally, the PNHZP is the coordinating zoo for the Red Panda breeding programme (Project Red Panda) in India since the inception of the project in 1990. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the Darjeeling zoo had shut its doors to visitors on March 6, 2020. "The animals in the zoos are recouping with substantially less human activities. Animals do get stressed due to visitors, despite all efforts by the Management. The animals are definitely recouping and are less stressed owing to the lockdown," stated Dr Suneeta Pradhan, former Scientific Officer, PNHZP.

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Darjeeling Zoo had got the first pair of Blue Sheep in November 2009 from Okinawa Zoo, Japan becoming the first zoo in the country to own Blue Sheep a

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