Ballari: What could match the glory of the 15th century Hampi ruins more than the magnificent lion, the king of animals? To offer visitors the unique experience of seeing the famed monuments and also the big cats in close proximity, one doesn't have to go to Ranthambore or Pench.
The state's third lion and tiger safari and the first of its kind in north Karnataka, will soon open near the UNESCO world heritage site, Hampi after the arrival of the animals at Atal Behari Vajpayee Zoological Garden in Kamalapur close by. A lion and a lioness have already arrived at the Hampi zoo on Wednesday while three tigresses and a tiger were brought here in February.
With Hampi being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one among the country's top tourist destinations, the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK), Mysuru, the caretaker of zoos in the state, came up with the idea of establishing a new zoo and offering carnivore and herbivore safaris in Bilikallu reserve forest in Kamalapur, 10 km away from Hampi.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee Zoological Park and Indira Priyadarshini Herbivore Safari were launched in November 2017 at Kamalapura.
The zoo and safari have been developed in an area of 141 hectares.
The zoo has come up on a 40-hectare space and the herbivore safari on about 30 acres.
The remaining portion of land had been reserved for a tiger and lion safari, which is now gearing up for the much awaited launch.
The tigers and lions for the new safari have been donated by Mysuru Zoo and Bannerghatta Park respectively with the approval of Central Zoo Authority. Surplus herbivores from other zoos and also from Ballari mini zoo were shifted to the herbivore safari after the CZA approved the master plan and animal collection plan.
Animals such as Spotted Deer, Sambar, Barking Deer and others are already there in the zoo.
“Lions, tigers, elephants, leopards, hyenas, bears, white peacocks and crocodiles will also be housed here,” said an officer.
Hampi sees lakhs of tourists every year and ZAK hopes that the tourists include the new zoo and safari in their Hampi itinerary. The first such safari opened in the state at Bannerghatta Biological Park, followed by Tyavarekoppa in Shivamogga district....