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Siberian tigers brought to Darjeeling zoo from Cyprus in good health

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18-month-old male felines brought from Cyprus zoo as part of an exchange programme

KOLKATA, Dec 13: Two Siberian tigers, which were brought to Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling district recently, are doing fine, West Bengal minister of state (forests) Birbaha Hansda said on Wednesday.

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The two 18-month-old male felines were brought from a zoo in Cyprus as part of an exchange programme. The tigers arrived in Kolkata on December 9 and were taken to Darjeeling by road in specially-equipped vehicles, a senior zoological park official said.

Hansda told PTI that both the big cats are doing fine and will be put in the enclosure for public viewing after a thorough check-up.

“We are monitoring their health conditions, especially since they had to travel such a long distance in unfamiliar climatic conditions. We will certainly bring them out of confinement after a few days as advised by the experts,” the official added.

To a question if the zoo authorities are planning to bring them for public viewing by early 2024 as a New Year gift, the official said, “Yes, that is what we are planning.”

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The two tigers, Lara and Akamas, had been flown from Pafos Zoo in Cyprus as part of an animal exchange programme between the two countries. The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park had sent a pair of red pandas to the Cyprus zoo.

The two Siberian tigers arrived at the Darjeeling zoo years after the last such big cat died at the Nainital Zoo in November 2011 due to age-related problems.

Hansda said till 2007, a Siberian tiger was kept in the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, the highest altitude zoo in the country, but it died due to age-related ailments.

“Yes, they are an endangered species and we have made all arrangements to make them feel comfortable,” she added. (PTI)

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