In a bid to save the cows, several Hindu activists on Monday protested against serving beef as part of diet to tigers and other big cats in the Assam state zoo located in Guwahati. A small group of protesters, led by Assam BJP leader Satya Ranjan Borah- claiming to be anti-beef activists - attempted to block the main gate at Guwahati Zoo as vehicles carrying beef for tigers were trying to pass.
"The vehicles carrying meat for the zoo inmates were stopped briefly by some miscreants. We had to call the police to disperse them. There’s no issue regarding supply of meat to the animals now,” said Tejas Mariswamy, divisional forest officer (DFO) Assam state zoo was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
BJP leader has proposed that the carnivores of the Guwahati Zoo should be fed the over-populated sambar deer instead of the staple beef.
He said the growth of the zoo’s sambar deer population had been such that the males had to be kept separately from the females. The zoo can achieve self-sufficiency if the sambar deer meat is used to feed the carnivores, including leopards, tigers, lions etc, he was quoted by the Indian Express.
“We (Hindu society) talk about the protection of the holy cow but the animal is killed to feed the zoo carnivores. Beef is supplied under a system and the government is a part of it. But why is only beef when we can give them the meat of sambar deer or pig?” Borah added.
Established in 1957 and spread over 175 hectares in the middle of Guwahati in the Hengrabari reserve forest, Assam state zoo, which has 1,040 wild animals and birds of 112 species, is the biggest zoo in the Northeast.
At present, the zoo has 8 tigers, 3 lions, 26 leopards and other small cats like leopard cat, jungle cat etc.