Darjeeling: The Bengal Safari is all set to put on display two inmates, growing up steadily behind the curtains. Rika and Kika, two Royal Bengal tiger cubs will soon be housed in the display area of the park. The cubs had been named by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"On May 10, Shila, the lone female Royal Bengal tiger of the Safari had given birth to three cubs. In September, one of the cubs named Ika died from infection. However, Rika and Kika are doing fine. They are a year old now and will be housed in the display area on the Park from next month," stated an official of the Park.
The captive bred tigers had been kept in a non-display area in quarantine like environment so that they do not catch any infections.
The Safari also boasts of two male Royal Bengals, Snehasish and Vivan. Snehasish, at present, has been sent to Alipore Zoo, Kolkata, for a captive breeding programme there.
The cubs have been separated from their mother and are housed in a separate enclosure in the non-display area. "The cubs are in good health and spirit and ready to be released in the display area," stated Rajendra Jakhar, in-charge of the Bengal Safari Park. While Kika weighs 68 kg, Rika is 65 kilos.
Incidentally the Park, a brainchild of the Chief Minister, was inaugurated in 2016. It is spread over an area of 290 hectares.
At present the park boasts of elephants, two Royal Bengal tigers, two leopards, barking deer, spotted deer, Sambars, a rhino, six gharials, a pair of Himalayan Black Bear and birds. The park at present boasts of a herbivore safari, tiger safari, bear safari and elephant safari.
The Bengali Safari Park is the first of its kind in the state. With its exhibits and elephant rides, it attracts a large number of visitors both local residents and tourists alike. Since April 2018 till February this year, a footfall of 2.55 lakh have been recorded at the Safari with earning to the tune of Rs 3.20 crore through the sale of tickets.