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Travel News, July, 2006

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New leopard, wild cat at Nandankanan
by Sarada Lahangir

      Bhubaneswar: The arrival of two little guests - a leopard cub and a spotted wild cat - has brought cheer to the officials at the Nandankanan Zoo near Bhubaneswar. Since their arrival on Tuesday, the duo has become a cynosure. The two felines, had strayed out of Chandraka and Khurda forest ranges. Both of them are now in the Nandankanan Zoo and getting special attention of an expert caretaker. It was on Sunday (July 23) a four-month-old leopard cub was rescued from the Chandaka forest area. A villager found the cub abandoned and brought it to the Range Forest Office, who handed it over to the Nandankanan Zoo for care. Meanwhile, the other leopard cat, believed to be one-month-old, was rescued from the Khurdha range by a villager, similarly in an abandoned state and brought to the Nandakanan Zoo, later on. On their arrival at the Zoo, an experienced caretaker was pressed into service to nurse the two baby animals.

     According to A.C. Dinakaran, Deputy Director, Nandankanan Zoo, all efforts have been mobilized for the well being of these two leopard cubs, which in the past reared several abandoned cubs. "Since Orissa does not have proper kind of well equipped rescue centre for the animals, the Nandankanan Zoo has always been extending its helping hand as a rescue centre. There are lots of animals who have been successfully nurtured here," said Dinakaran. For Srihari Singh, the specially designated caretaker of these cubs, it's like a nurturing one's own children. "I am very happy that these two cubs have been brought here. I have to take care of them because they are very small and need extra care. I have nurtured these kinds of abandoned animals earlier. I treat them as my kids. They require round-the-clock care. My job is to take care of their food and health. Whenever they feel little uncomfortable, I call the doctors immediately", he said. The two leopard cubs have now been kept in separate pen. According to the Zoo authorities, both the little cubs are responding well to the care being given to them.

     Situated at a short distance from Bhubaneswar, the Nandankanan Zoo lies in the splendid environs of the Chandaka forest, along the rippling waters of the Kanjia Lake. It also contains a Botanical Garden and part of it has been declared a sanctuary. Famed for its white tiger population, Nandankanan, is a favourite tourists' spot. It provides a great opportunity to enjoy watching regal animals in a natural habitat offering an environment conducive to their growth. Over 67 kinds of mammals, 18 varieties of reptiles and 81 species of birds co-exist in the deeply forested boundaries. Internationally, the Nandakanan Zoo enjoys a good reputation for successfully breeding black panthers, Gharials and white tigers in captivity.
-July 26,  2006

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