More than a year after the idea was first mooted to whether shift the three elephants from the National Zoological Park to the wild or not, the fate of these elephants is still undecided.
Following an idea mooted by the environment minister Jairam Ramesh, the Central Zoo Authority had issued a directive to all the zoos, which have any elephant population and also asked the chief wildlife warden of respective states to facilitate their transfer to open areas for free movements of the pachyderm.
Dr Brij Kishore Gupta, CZA's evaluation and monitoring officer, said, "CZA's evaluation committee would be submitting a report in July first week."
The park, popularly know as Delhi zoo, has three elephants: one is an African male apart from an Indian couple. There were 87 elephants in 24 zoos across the country. Of these, only 15 elephants have been shifted to the wild as yet. The directives are to send the elephants to 'elephant camps' run by forest departments of respective states, preferably located near the protected areas or the national parks.
Claiming that they have ample space for elephants' enclosure/s, which does not in any way hamper their free movement, few of the 24 zoos requested exemption, prompting the CZA to form an evaluation committee. The evaluation committee has already visited nine facilities.
The visit to the Delhi zoo had taken place more than six months ago, but there has been no decision as yet. Zoo director AK Agnihotri said, "We have no problem if our elephants are sent away to open areas, provided there are takers."
Dr Gupta said, "Once the team submits it report, then only any decision would be taken, that too by top ministry officials." Till then, the three elephants in the zoo can continue to regale the visitors, specially the youngsters.