Sans operational permit, regional zoo in limbo

- AMRITA ANMOL, Butwal
Sans operational permit, regional zoo in limbo

Mar 24, 2015-

Denied operational permit by the government, the regional zoo constructed in Shankarnagar, Rupandehi has been left in lurch.

The Shankarnagar Ban Bihar and Research Centre had started renovation and repair work at the Butwal-based Mani Mukundasen Park in order to expand it into a regional zoo. However, the government’s denial to issue the operational permit has hit the plans to start the regional zoo and attract foreign and internal visitors. The delay in bringing in the full budget had also caused huge setbacks in constructing the second biggest zoo in the country five years ago.

“We had started construction work on the zoo after submitting the proposal drafted citing the need for a regional zoo in Rupandehi. We had argued that the proposed regional zoo could be beneficial for the study and conservation of endangered species while attracting foreign and internal visitors. However, even after completing all the necessary work and conserving various species, we have not been able to procure the permit from the government,” said chairperson Baburam Aryal of the Centre. In the absence of a permit, the Centre has had a hard time conserving the endangered wildlife in the region.

According to the Centre, there are 21 species of wildlife, including leopard, deer, blue sheep, python, bear, rabbit, Chinese mouse, peacock, cranes at the Centre. The wild animals found injured or in danger in nearby community forests and those rescued by the District Forest Office (DFO) are being cared for at the Centre. However, it is now devoid of necessary funds to carry on with its activities.

“We have been having a hard time managing the funds necessary for medicines, animal feed and staff salaries through our own resources,” said Aryal, adding that they cannot go on like this for long.

He further said: “We have had to spend as much as Rs 50,000 for the treatment of a deer on one occasion, but the government has been treating the Centre as a medical facility only, denying us the permit to start the regional zoo which will enable us to manage the necessary funds to carry on with our activities.”

Along with researchers, the facility has been attracting at least 300 visitors per day to observe wildlife and spend some quality time with friends and family in its natural and relaxing environment. A number of college students from bordering towns of Uttar Pradesh, India have also been visiting the facility for educational and recreational purposes. The Centre has allocated 50 hectares of the forest area for the Regional Zoo, herbal research, meditation centre, biodiversity centre, children’s park, and a picnic spot. Likewise, the Centre’s premises has also been used to host wedding receptions and various musical programmes. “The people have been attracted to the zoo and are attached to it emotionally. Hence, the government should not hesitate to issue the permit,” said local Laxman Aryal.

Published: 25-03-2015 08:50

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