Govt mulls new model of zoo operation

- Post Report, Kathmandu
A amendment proposal to the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act allows institutions or agencies to operate zoos

Sep 16, 2015-The government is likely to grant license to any organisation or agency to operate zoos if they meet the purposes including education, research as well as study and entertainment.

An amendment proposal to the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act (NWCA) 1973 has included a provision that allows institutions or agencies to operate zoos if they meet criterions set by the government and serve the purpose of education, research, breeding, genetic resource conservation and study, among others.

The proposal which is under discussion at the Ministry Forests and Soil Conservation and if approved, it will open the door for private sector as well as interested agencies to establish mini zoos across the country. Until now, there is no specific legal and regulatory framework that talks about zoo management. The Central Zoo in Jawalakhel, Lalitpur, operated under the National Trust for Nature Conservation is the only zoo in the country that manages captive animals from across the country.

Sarita Gyawali, chief at the Central Zoo, however, said the inclusion of a provision in the NPWC Act will not be adequate to ensure that the establishment of new zoos will benefit the welfare of animals as well as the general public. “We need a separate act on zoo management in the country that will incorporate components necessary to ensure the effectiveness of setting up zoos for various purposes in the country,”

she said.

There are issues to be dealt before deciding on issuing licenses such as whether or not the new provision will address the welfare of animals, enclosure condition and maintaining proper habitats, among others. “Mobilisation of adequate financial resources and technical support will be crucial to ensure proper zoo management,” she said.

Besides, the Central Zoo, there are around 25 mini zoos managed either by cities and community forest user groups in many places. However, these mini zoos have served more as a refuge to rescued animals than a proper zoo.

Published: 16-09-2015 08:54

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