Abhinav Malhotra, TNN 26 October 2009, 09:11pm IST
KANPUR: With a view to rehabilitate the leopards who have been forced to leave their habitat due to the fast depleting forest cover in the state, the Kanpur zoo authorities will soon send a proposal to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for establishing a rescue centre at Kanpur zoo, which will be one of its kind in the state.
It is to be noted here that due to increased human interference, shortage of feed, climate change, delayed monsoons and lack of drinking water, the forests are no longer the comfortable and safer zones for the wild animals. As a result, leopards, tigers, hyena and other wild animals have left forests in the past and surveys say the trend is still continuing. Thus, there are many more animal-human encounters now that in the past. This has also resulted in poaching of this big cat in the forest areas of the state, like a leopard was poached in a sugarcane field near Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday last.
Terming it a dream project, director, Kanpur zoological park, K Praveen Rao informed TOI: “This is for the first time in the state that a leopard rescue centre will come up at the Lucknow and Kanpur zoo. The entire project is in the very primary stage, but soon we will be sending a proposal to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for seeking a final approval in this regard. The rescue centre at Kanpur zoo will strictly cater to leopards only (10 leopards at the most).”
“The leopards, brought to the rescue centre, will be kept here till they are fit to be rehabilitated to their original habitat, from where they actually migrate. The main aim is proper protection of leopards in the state and to reduce cases of man-animal conflicts. This will be very much possible with the coming up of a leopard rescue centre at Lucknow zoo initially and thereafter at the Kanpur zoo,” the official informed.
Another senior zoo official informed that it would only be in emergency that tigers were kept there. “The Kanpur and the Lucknow zoos are full to their capacities in terms of retaining leopards. Kanpur zoo has eight leopards now and Lucknow zoo has 11 and, thus, we are left with no more cages to house their increasing number. In such a condition, the rescue centres will be of great help to the forest officials, zoo authorities and human beings,” he concluded.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org