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Delhi zoo to don a new look

Our 176 acre green lung, bang in the heart of the city, is set to change and how. Nivedita Khandekar reports. Animal planet

delhi Updated: Nov 02, 2011 01:28 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

Our 176 acre green lung, bang in the heart of the city, is set to change and how.

The National Zoological Park, popularly known as the Delhi zoo amongst city residents, is undergoing an overhauling exercise.

On the 53rd Foundation Day of the park on Tuesday, the authorities unveiled a new master layout plan for the country’s only zoo directly under the union ministry of environment and forests.

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With 1,300 animals, including 100 species of animals, birds and reptiles, the zoo was designed in the ‘most modern’ way at the time it was conceptualised.

Now, after missing several deadlines, the zoo’s master plan is in the making.

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the regulatory body for zoos in India, has given in-principle approval to the master layout plan. This means the authorities will now be able to further update the plan with micro-detailing.

“About 65% of the zoo area will comprise woodland, water bodies and green lawns,” said Amitabh Agnihotri, zoo director.

The master layout plan comprises display themes such as Himalayan Highlands and Peninsular India to showcase species from those areas and new facilities such as an aquarium, insectariums and a butterfly park.

Experts associated with the zoo have also suggested certain changes.

“Animal enclosures should be modernised in such a way that animals get more space to move around,” said Kartic Satyanarayan of NGO Wildlife SOS. He also suggested the introduction of some ‘activity for the animals’ to reduce “stress due to captivity”.

Another suggestion came from Himanshu Malhotra, a wildlife filmmaker and a member of the zoo’s advisory committee. “The administration should be alert about repairs to enclosures that suffer damage due to various reasons,” he said.

“We will be re-working certain enclosures as per the CZA guidelines,” said Agnihotri.

“After several field visits, our zoo design team conducted a number of meetings with the zoo administration and suggested several changes to be incorporated in the master lay out plan,” added BS Bonal, CZA member secretary.

Visitors, however, have other demands. “There are very few battery operated shuttles. (Total eight, with a seating capacity of 13 in each) Why can’t they add more,” asked Sunandita Sengupta, a visitor.

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