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Home / India News / Centre to upgrade ten zoos to global standards over next decade

Centre to upgrade ten zoos to global standards over next decade

The Central Zoo Authority has set up a 13-member committee which will submit a report by April 2020, after which the CZA and the Union environment ministry will take a decision.

india Updated: Dec 02, 2019 23:18 IST
Joydeep Thakur
Joydeep Thakur
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
A herd of spotted deer inside an enclosure at Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden fin Guwahati.
A herd of spotted deer inside an enclosure at Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden fin Guwahati.(PTI File Photo)
         

The Centre is all set to upgrade ten zoos across India to global standards over the next decade.

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has set up a 13-member committee headed by Rajesh Gopal, secretary-general of the Global Tiger Forum. The committee will submit a report by April 2020, after which CZA and the Union environment ministry will take the final call on it.

“The committee will explore the best practices followed by some foreign zoos and suggest which of those measures could be implemented here in some of the Indian zoos and upgrade them to a global standard. Ten Indian zoos, which are yet to be identified would be upgraded,” said Gopal, who is also the former member secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

The committee has experts from the CZA, former chief wildlife wardens of some states, landscape architects who specialize in zoo designing and veterinarians, among others. The first meeting of the committee is likely to be held later this week.

“A zoo has many elements, starting from animal enclosures for both display and breeding of animals, to visit galleries and network of other services such as alarm systems. All these would have to be looked into. There are quite a few zoos abroad, such as the Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Prague Zoological Gardens and the Singapore Zoo, that have adopted such measures,” said Rommel Mehta, a retired professor of School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in New Delhi and a former expert member on zoo designing at CZA. He is also a member of the committee.

This comes at a time when several animal deaths and alleged malpractices by authorities have been reported in zoos across the country. In July this year, Babul Supriyo, the Union minister of state for environment and forest, told the Parliament that 31 animals died of heat wave in zoos in the last three years.

Recently, HT reported that the last cape buffalo in Delhi zoo died after eating plastic. On the other hand, some new measures such as baby feeding centers for visitors and perambulators for toddlers have also been introduced in the Delhi zoo.

The committee will look into technologies used by some the best zoos in the world and see if these could be implemented in India to improve the simulation of ambiance a particular animal is suited to (nocturnal facilities, enclosures simulating a rain forest and caves), state of art interpretation centers and overall maintenance of the zoo.

“The concept of zoos is gradually becoming redundant because neither do they serve the purpose of education nor conservation. However, for the animals, zoos should simulate such conditions that best suit their natural habitat. Zoos should also come up with concepts such as rescue centers because of the increasing number of animals that are being seized from wildlife smugglers,” said Gauri Maulekhi, trustee of the People for Animals, a non-governmental organization.