The Uttarakhand government is planning to develop ‘a man-eater leopard safari’ on a two-acre land in Garwhal, which will serve as captured cats’ rehabilitation centre and a new source of tourism revenue, chief wildlife warden Digvijay Singh Khati said on Tuesday.
He said a draft of the plan would be discussed with the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI), and then a project plan would be drafted in this regard, including design, cost of construction etc, Khati said. The work will start after the CZAI’s go ahead, he said.
According to the state wildlife department figures, there are presently 40 captured man-eater leopards which have been kept at three separate enclosures in Almora, Haridwar and Nainital.
However, the forest department is finding it difficult to maintain them due to paucity of funds. The safari could help resolve the problem, Khati said, adding that these leopards’ keep-up was going to be a big challenge as their number was expected to grow more in the future.
Sources said the proposed safari would be a deep pond-like structure with slippery sidewalls to stop the cats’ escape. However, the structure will have enough natural space, including a water body, inside to help their free movement.
The safari arena will have a special pathway for pedestrians to allow them a clear view of the leopards. Sources said the entire area would have fringe roads on the periphery of the safari zone which can be used for vehicular access too.
The safari will have special cell-like construction to avoid territorial fights among them, sources said.