Big mammals of Central Zoo to be relocated to new home

- Anup Ojha, LALITPUR
Spread over six hectares, the zoo houses 34 species of mammals

Dec 31, 2015-The government will soon transfer big mammals from the Central Zoo to a proposed zoological garden in Surya Binayak, Bhaktapur, according to Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Agni Prasad Sapkota. The zoological garden was identified as an alternative in 2011.

The Central Zoo in Jawalakhel, spread over six hectare land, houses 34 species of mammals, nine species of reptiles, 14 species of fish and 51 species of birds. It has become too small to accommodate the big animals. There are over 800 animals kept in the Central Zoo.

Though the zoological garden was identified four years ago, the government is yet to pass regulations to pave the way for relocating big mammals from the Central Zoo. 

“I have discussed the issue with both the prime minister and finance minister,” said Minister Sapkota said. “They have already given the go ahead to the plan.” 

Speaking at a programme to mark the 20th anniversary of the Central Zoo on Tuesday, Sapkota stressed on proper management of natural resources and wild animals, saying that the country has high potential for nature-based tourism.

The government has instructed the Ministry of Forest to start the process of building the proposed zoological garden, which is spread over 245 hectare land in Surya Binayak.

At present, visitors of the Central Zoo are given access to a library, paddle boats, rafting, aquarium, children’s playground and elephant ride, among others. 

“We have been upgrading the physical infrastructure, but we don’t have enough space to add more wild animals,” said Sarita Gyawali, Chief of Central Zoo.

Of late, the main attraction of the zoo has been red panda, a new member since 2011. The zoo has also been organising awareness programmes and professional visits for students and researchers.

A wildlife conservation programme run by the zoo itself, ‘Friends of Zoo’, is also gaining popularity among schools. 

The zoo has tied up with over 300 schools from across the country for the conservation programme.

However, zoo officials said the impact of the devastating April earthquake and India’s unofficial embargo has also had an impact on the number of visitors in the zoo. “The situation is gradually improving, but we are still short of over 30 per cent of our regular visitors due to the current crisis,” said Gyawali. The zoo is a non-profit organisation being run with the revenue collected through ticket sales.

According to officials, earlier the zoo used to have on an average 4,000 visitors every day. The number now has come down to around 2,800. 

During the programme, former directors of the Central Zoo, Mukti Narayan Shrestha, Shreevatswa Man Malla, Bal Krishna Khanal and RK Shrestha were felicitated for their contribution in improving the overall condition of the zoo. The zoo was established in 1932 by Juddha Shumsher Rana for his private entertainment. It came under the management of the government in 1951 and was opened to public in 1956.

Published: 31-12-2015 09:18

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