Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden in Karnataka’s city of palaces got three cheetahs from South Africa’s Ann Van Dyke Cheetah centre under an animal exchange programme, an official said on Wednesday.
“The three cheetahs, including one male and two female African hunting cats and aged 14-16 months arrived here on Monday after they were flown to Bengaluru from Johannesburg in an air freight carrier under the international animal exchange programme,” Mysuru zoo director Ajit Kulkarni told IANS here.
Mysuru is about 150km southwest of Bengaluru in the southern state.
“Ours is the second zoo to house cheetahs after Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad. Though we had four of them from Germany since 2011, the last one died in 2019, as their life span is short — 12-14 years,” recalled Kulkarni.
The fastest land animal with an average 100km per hour speed, the three cheetahs are kept in an enclosure under quarantine till they get acclimatized and adopt themselves to the Indian weather conditions.
“The cheetahs will soon be let out in a 7,000 square metres of the fenced area in the zoo to roam and run, as they need a lot of space to gallop at high speeds,” said the director.
Hundreds of visitors to the zoo will be able to see the endangered African cat species in the open area from September.
The zoo also has tigers, leopards and lions among the carnivorous animals.
“The cheetahs are fed raw beef and boiled chicken for their diet. They are healthy, curious and raring to go out in the open,” said Kulkarni.
The 128-year-old zoo, set up by the Mysore Maharaja Chamarajendra Wodeyar in 1892, is spread over 175 acres on the city’s outskirts and houses about a whopping 1,450 species, including 168 from 25 countries the world over.
“We have animal exchange programmes with zoos in Indian cities and other countries. We will ship one of our species to South Africa after its zoo authority will select and make transit arrangements,” added Kulkarni.
The zoo has recently exchanged animals with its counterparts in Czech Republic, Singapore and Sri Lanka.