Increase in man-leopard conflict has pushed the government to provide the dwindling big cats an alternate home within the confines of a green enclosure to be called animal safari.
Away from being a caged animal in a traditional zoo, the Central Zoo Authority is working on a concept note for allowing animal safaris, especially for leopards, and some other rescued mammals across India.
A senior official, entrusted with the job to frame the policy in this regard said that they were looking at open, large and natural habitat for leopards with conditions similar to the wild.
The concept of animal safari has been floated after animal right groups claimed that rescued animals were forced to live in deplorable condition in cages in zoos with very little freedom to move around freely.
Animal safaris are extremely popular in the west to rehabilitate rescued animals and a money spinner for wildlife conservation with massive footfalls. In India, the government is introducing animal safari on such a large scale for the first time.
Official sources said that the first big animal safari will be coming in Roha in Raigarh district of Maharashtra, about 120 kms south-east of Mumbai. A smaller version has also been proposed in Borivali in Mumbai town.
According to Wildlife Protection Society of India around 54 leopards have been poached in the first three months of 2015 and 116 of them fell to nefarious design wildlife smugglers last year. Around 1,300 leopards have been poached in India since 2004.