The nature-lovers and animal rights' activists of Nagpur took a strong exception over the report of Maharajbagh Zoo authorities and the city police that gave a clean chit to the Maharashtra Agriculture minister Balasaheb Thorat for the entry of the enclosure of tiger in the zoo on August 15.
The minister, along with the city Congress president Jaiprakash Gupta, entered into the tiger cage and allegedly teased and patted an eight-month old tiger cub that was brought from Chandrapur forests when its mother had abandoned the cub.
Responding to an explanation, sought by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the Maharajbagh Zoo authorities defended the minister for his act, saying that he (the minister) has every right to enter the zoo as he is also the pro vice-chancellor of the Punjabrao Agriculture University which runs the zoo. The Maharajbagh Zoo authority sent its clarification on Friday.
Kishore Rithe, president of Satpuda Foundation, an NGO that works for the conservation and protection of the big cats in the region, strongly condemned the Maharajbagh Zoo authorities for its attempt to protect the minister. The acts of the minister and his associates were purely against the Wildlife Protection Act and they should immediately be booked for the violation of Act.
“The Maharajbagh incident has just highlighted the issue. But it needs healthy discussion on the scientific zoo management in the country. Hence it needs strict action on the VIPs and officers, responsible for violation of norms and WP Act”, Rithe insisted. The Satpuda Foundation wrote to the CZA, the Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, the PCCF (Wildlife) and PCCF (General) of Maharashtra and urged them to initiate necessary steps against the Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Thorat, the Congress leader Jaiprakash Gupta, their friends and security personnel as well as feeding of the cub by the BJP legislator, Devendra Fadanvis at the zoo, a days ago.
“Both the incidents have violated the existing laws,” it said and also condemned the state BJP chief Nitin Gadkari for defending Thorat. “The state BJP chief might have defended the minister because his own party MLA, Fadanvis was involved in a similar case,” Rithe further pointed out.