Assam Congress has strongly condemned the transfer of two black panthers from Assam State Zoo to the zoo run by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance group at Jamnagar in Gujarat.

The Assam State Zoo authority sent two black panthers to the private zoo at Jamnagar in January last.

Reports have quoted a senior forest official of Assam as saying that in exchange of the two black panthers, the Assam State Zoo will get two pairs of zebras.

The transfer of the black panthers from the Assam State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden has been vehemently condemned by the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) in a statement.

“It seems that even wild animals kept in captivity in zoos cannot escape from the tentacles of big corporate houses as the recent ‘hush-hush’ transfer of two black panthers from the State Zoo in Guwahati to a zoo in Gujarat being set up by the Reliance group of the Ambanis has proved,” APCC said.

While referring to the “hue and cry” over the transfer of three elephants from Assam to a temple in Gujarat a year back, the APCC said the two black panthers from the Assam State Zoo were transferred to the zoo set up by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries at Jamnagar in a “secret manner”.

The statement, issued on Friday by APCC media department chairperson Bobbeeta Sharma, said the black panthers were transferred “during the second week of January, without the knowledge of animal lovers and conservationists in the state”.

Also read: Assam zoo to get two pairs of zebras in exchange of two black panthers

“Although a senior forest official claimed that the transfer was done as part of an exchange program under which the Jamnagar centre would help Assam acquire four zebras from Israel, the document produced by him did not mention any such exchange and only states that the animals were ‘acquisitioned’ for the purpose of ‘display’,” the statement said.

“There is no mention of any exchange of animals in the letter addressed to the PCCF (Wildlife) of Assam,” it said.
Assam Congress has demanded an enquiry by the state government into the matter and asked whether the official procedure was followed for the transfer.

“Can such transfer take place for ‘display’? If they have been sent for ‘display’, are the black panthers being brought back to the zoo after ‘display’? How can any such transfer take place during pandemic situation?” APCC questioned.

“It goes without saying that after the recent acquisitions by Reliance Industries of a large number of companies and entry into every business from telecom and entertainment to retail marketing, with the blessings of PM Modi, now even wild animals are not safe from its clutches,” APCC further said.

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