Fund-starved zoos to be developed on PPP model
A policy to upgrade 160 zoos on a PPP model would be announced in the next Union budget, which is expected to be presented on February 1, according to Union minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash JavadekarUpdated: Oct 06, 2020, 08:22 IST
Zoos across the country will be developed on a public-private partnership (PPP) model, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said on Monday, as the Central government seeks to tap private funding to run the animal parks.
A policy to upgrade 160 zoos on a PPP model would be announced in the next Union budget, which is expected to be presented on February 1, Javadekar said.
State governments, civic bodies, businesses and private individuals would all be key elements of the PPP model, he added.
The Central Zoo Authority (CZA), which oversees India’s zoological parks, has a budget of less than Rs 12 crore, of which a meagre amount is set aside for zoos, a CZA official said on condition of anonymity.
“Zoos cannot be sustained on a shoestring budget. Out of the 160 zoos in the country, 10 have been selected for the vision plan. A private consultant is working on how they can be developed on a PPP model,” the official said.
“We have a handful of private zoos and very few civic body and society-run zoos. It’s a new concept in India. The PPP model will follow the finance ministry’s rules. We are in talks with private partners,” he added.
Javadekar also released a first-of-its-kind study on the economic evaluation of the National Zoological Park in Delhi. The annual economic value of various ecosystem services provided by the park in 2019-20 is estimated to be Rs 422.76 crore, and the one-time cost of services and land provided by the zoo is estimated to be Rs 55,209.45 crore, the study said.
The CZA had commissioned The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) to make an evaluation of the services provided by the zoo. Almost 77% of the contribution comes from the recreational and cultural services of the zoo, while education and research -- the next most important service -- contributes only 9% to the total economic value.
“Every service is important, as it contributes towards the improvement of the local environment. The benefits of the zoo are not only restricted to its visitors but also reach Delhi’s citizens. As a result, it is necessary to ensure the proper maintenance of the zoo to improve its services,” the report said.
The zoo houses 73 Indian species and 26 exotic species of mammals, birds, and reptiles in its enclosures. Plans are afoot to add other species of amphibians and insects. In 2017-18, the zoo had incurred an expenditure of Rs 40 crore towards the management of the animals.
The number of tourists visiting the Delhi zoo has grown consistently over the years, according to the analysis. In 2018-19, 19,568 and 2,692,730 foreign and domestic tourists had visited the zoo. The total revenue generated by the zoo in 2018-19 was Rs 10.09 crore.
“Zoos have two roles, one for creating awareness about animals and the other, more scientific, ex-situ conservation, or actions taken involving removing the species from its natural habitat. Endangered or vulnerable animals that are bred in zoos, after testing their genetic profile, can be reintroduced back in the wild following appropriate national and international protocols. There are successful examples of zoos involved in ex-situ conservation. However, this can only be achieved if the natural habitats of the target species are intact and free from disturbances,” said Dipankar Ghose, director, wildlife and habitats, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-India.