Aarey Colony’s zoo plot suitable for zoological park: CZA | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Aarey Colony’s zoo plot suitable for zoological park: CZA

The expert members declared that the site — located near a picnic point in Aarey Colony — is suitable for the ambitious project, which is being seen as an extension to the Byculla zoo.

mumbai Updated: Oct 18, 2014 13:24 IST
Nikhil M Ghanekar

Almost two years after the forest department acquired 200 acres of land in Aarey Colony for a zoological park, an expert-team of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) paid its first on-site visit on Friday to check the proposed project’s feasibility.

The expert members declared that the site — located near a picnic point in Aarey Colony — is suitable for the ambitious project, which is being seen as an extension to the Byculla zoo.

The expert team, comprising PC Tyagi from Wildlife Institute of India and AK Malhotra, a wildlife curator, also visited the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) on Thursday to assess the plan of upgrading the park’s mini zoo into a medium zoo.

The expert members said the onus of taking the proposed Aarey Colony project ahead lies between the forest department and the civic body. With both the Byculla zoo and SGNP planning to upgrade their existing zoos and add more animals to its collection, the forest department would have to justify the need for another zoological park.

“The forest department is yet to create a concept plan and project layout for the proposed zoo. The authorities will have to justify the need for this zoo. If it passes muster, then it will be sent to the CZA’s expert committee for scrutiny,” said Tyagi.

At present, the SGNP has only created a contour map of the proposed zoo and no decision has been taken on the exact nature of the project.

In addition, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recently wrote to the state government for allotting a part of the 200 acres for a wildlife safari, as an extension to the Byculla zoo.

“The land is currently with the forest department and we have not had any concrete discussions with the BMC in relation to project collaborations. In the event of a collaboration, we may have to sign a memorandum of understanding to divide the management responsibilities of the zoo,” said Vikas Gupta, director and chief conservator of forests, SGNP.