JAMMU: A K Mehta, chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, has encouraged officials to encourage Vaishno Devi pilgrims to visit the zoo on their way to the cave shrine because a lion and a tiger will be introduced to Jambu Zoo here next month. Mehta paid a visit to the Jambu Zoo in Nagrota on Monday to assess the visitor services offered in addition to the general efficiency of the zoological park. In May, the public was allowed access to the Jambu Zoo. The 13 cages at Jambu Zoo, which is one of the biggest in north India, house species that were relocated from Manda Zoo in Jammu. Animals from other zoos in the nation, including a Royal Bengal Tiger and an Asiatic lion, will live in five additional cages. “Lakhs of pilgrims are visiting Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop Trikuta hills, and they need to be encouraged to stop here for refreshments as the zoo which falls on their route to the cave shrine,” the chief secretary remarked. He demanded that large, permanent hoardings promoting the zoo be put up at the airport, the train station, and along the path to the shrine. He stated, “The tiger can be brought in easily by October 15 and the lion by October 25,” and that they would draw tourists, particularly kids.Mehta encouraged decision-makers to consider adding a hippopotamus into the zoological park as an additional attraction. The chief secretary stated that the zoo’s visitor volume needed to be increased. “Schoolchildren and other nature enthusiasts could also receive education about animals, their behaviour, and the key characteristics associated with them.” Mehta demanded that the zoo’s cafeteria and natural interpretive centre be made operational right away after noticing their closures. The chief secretary paid a visit to various animal enclosures and praised the employees for taking such wonderful care of all the animals. Mehta observed some of the “sinking” land areas and ordered that specialists be engaged for any quick, low-cost solutions to resolve this problem.