Saturday, August 01, 2009

New attractions @ Himalayan Zoological Park,Gangtok

GANGTOK, July 31: Heralding a success story for the captive breeding programme of the Red Pandas in the Himalayan Zoological Park located at Bulbuley above Gangtok town, the naming formality of the two newly born Red Pandas were done today at the park.State Forest minister Bhim Dungel named the first Red Randa cub as ‘Nidhi’ (resource in English) while the visiting Red Panda researcher from Germany, Dr. Axel Gebauer named the second Red Panda cub as ‘Sonam’ (Fortunate One in English). Both the cubs had been born one month ago in the Park as part of the captive breeding programme. Both the cubs are healthy.The zoo authorities informed that they have not been able to find out the sex of the two cubs. They added that it will be possible only after a few months.The latest addition in the Park takes the Red Panda family to eight now.The State run Himalayan Zoological Park had started the captive breeding programme from 1997 of the Red Pandas with the support from the Central government. The Park is located at an altitude of 5840 ft (1780m) at Bulbuley at a distance of 3 km (approx.) from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim and is spread over an area of 205 hectares of mountainous land with terrain suitable for high altitude animals and birds. Red Panda, the State animal of Sikkim, figures in the schedule one of the Wildlife Protection Act because of its dwindling population both in wild and in captive. Sikkim government is trying to conserve the animal in a natural enclosure or habitat at Himalayan Zoological Park. The captive breeding programme was started in the Park with a female Red Panda from Holland and a male Red Panda from Darjeeling of West Bengal.Meanwhile, a one day exhibition of the rare pictures of Red Panda taken by Dr. Gebauer in Darjeeling and Sikkim zoos during his research was also organized at the Park. The photos had been taken by Dr. Gebuer during his research on Red Pandas and were viewed by State forest minister Bhim Dhungel with enthusiasm.During the exhibit, the German researcher raised serious issues concerning the protection of the Red Pandas and the projects he had prepared in the conservation and promotion of the Red Pandas.Dr. Gebuer said that Sikkim provides natural habitat to the Red Pandas and called upon the Sikkimese people to come ahead in the protection and conservation of the Red Pandas instead of leaving the responsibility to the State forest department alone.