27 Indian zoos may shut down because of violations

Jaideep Hardikar
Sunday, December 10, 2006 22:37 IST

NAGPUR: Zoological parks in Maharashtra may soon be passé, as the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), a statutory body under union ministry of forest and environment, has asked as many as 27 small zoos across the state to shut down for violating rules.

The apex body has also written to the state government some time back saying barring Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park in Pune, no other zoo follows the standards prescribed under the National Zoo Policy, 1988.

Some of the popular Sunday stops that are facing the closure are the Maharajbagh zoo of Nagpur and the Jeejmata Udyan of Mumbai.

Forest minister Babanrao Pachpute confirmed the move while speaking to DNA. He said the CZA has issued notices to the respective zoo managements, after several warnings since 2001.

“Most of the zoos in the state are either run by local civic bodies or the agriculture universities; we are not directly involved,” he said.

He said that the CZA has written to his department to take up the rehabilitation of wild animals.

“We have informed that we’ll have to study the matter before taking any decision,” the minister said.

The CZA authorities told DNA that many of the zoos and parks do not have open enclosures and regular health check-ups for wild animals. Many don’t have a regular veterinary doctor visiting the zoos either. Last year, around 30 blackbucks died in the Solapur zoo following the outbreak of some disease. Ironically, the fate of wild animals, including the wild cat, in all zoos hangs in balance. The state forest department is, however, not ready to shoulder the responsibility of rehabilitating them, as they are faced with a shortage of funds.

“We have informed the CZA about the funds we require if we conduct the rehabilitation of animals,” Pachpute said.

The CZA has also suggested that animals from small zoos could be shifted to the big ones. The union forest and environment ministry has written to chief minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh, some time ago maintaining that the small zoos are not a viable option.

The state should operate only a few big zoos, which meet the standards and rules promulgated by the apex zoo agency.



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