Bengaluru: There's a change of menu for the carnivores in all zoos across the state. Come Saturday and the big cats like the tigers, lions and leopards will be fed sheep and goat meat as the Union government has banned cattle slaughter
The move is expected to dig a deep hole in the zoos' pockets as mutton is much costlier. The worst hit could be the century-old Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Park or the Mysuru Zoo, the Bannerghatta National Park and Shivamogga Zoo which have fed their carnivores, beef for years.
With the ban in place, they will have to give up buying cow and buffalo meat for their animals as cattle covers all bovine animals, including bulls, cows, buffalo, steers, heifers, calves and even camels.
"As the government of India has come out with this new rule, we will implement it in letter and spirit no matter what the cost to the zoos. In the past too cow meat has been supplemented with buffalo meat or chicken,"
Mr Abhiyu Singh, member-secretary, Zoo Authority of Karnataka told DC. In his estimate there are 10 tigers and four lions in the Mysuru Zoo, eight tigers and 18 lions in the Bannerghatta National Park, around 19 lions in the Bannerghatta Rescue Center and eight tigers and eight lions in the safari. Other zoos too have their share of leopards and tigers.
While an adult male lion/tiger at the Mysuru Zoo is currently fed 15 kgs of beef, an adult lioness is fed 12 kgs of it and a cub , 6 or 7 kgs, going by zoo sources. On an average, the zoo bought around 250 kgs of beef daily after calling for tenders every year from local meat suppliers.
While beef usually cost it around Rs 180 to Rs 200 a kg, it will now have to buy goat meat for as much as Rs 480 to 500 a kg.
As the zoo will have to float a new tender for supply of the goat and sheep meat, it will have to buy it from the open market in the meanwhile, shelling out around Rs 1.25 lakh for 250 kgs of meat every day....