Guwahati: Assam Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya Tuesday said that the transfer of two black panthers from Assam state Zoo to Reliance-owned Greens Zoological Rescue and the Rehabilitation Kingdom at Jamnagar in Gujarat was done following government policy of ‘barter system’ of wildlife animals.
“The black panthers were sent to Jamnagar zoo in exchange for their help to bring four Zebras from Israel. Animal exchange is part of zoo management. We frequently undertake animal exchange programme with various zoos in the country and with zoo outside the country,” Suklabaidya said an issue which has triggered a controversy ahead of Assembly elections slated in April.
Congress in Assam has demanded an inquiry questioning why the black panthers were “secretly” transferred without the knowledge of animal lovers or conservationist of the state.
“It seems that even animals kept in captivity are not safe which cannot escape the tentacles of big corporate houses, as the recent transfer of two panthers from the state zoo in Guwahati to a zoo owned by Ambani’s has proved, “ Bobeeta Sharma, Congress spokesperson said.