PATNA: In a first, the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, commonly known as Patna zoo, opened a ‘Rhino Breeding Centre’ on its premises on Wednesday evening. It will help boost the population of rhinos as they are critically endangered species.
A pair of one-horned rhinos — Lali and Ganesh — were housed at the centre under the supervision of zookeepers. “So far as the population of rhinos is concerned, the Patna zoo tops the list in the country. At present, it has five male and six female rhinos. The breeding centre will keep them away from public viewing and provide natural surroundings,” environment, forest and climate change department principal secretary Dipak Kumar Singh told this newspaper on Thursday.
The newly opened breeding facility is spread over an area of 3.5 acres of land between the new lake and the jungle trail area. Its foundation stone was laid in 2017. The centre consists of a night house, a forest area and an open arena.
The breeding area also has a marshy patch, a lake, and grassland to provide a natural habitat to the rhinos for mating. An LCD screen will soon be installed outside the centre which can accommodate up to 20 rhinos at a time. Zoo director Amit Kumar said, “The new night house is bigger than the usual ones.”
A pair of rhinos were first brought to the Patna zoo from Assam in 1979. Since then their number has gone up to 11.