Wednesday, June 23

Kolkata: Meet giraffes, zebras at Eco Park next year

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Giraffes and hippos in enclosures may greet visitors to Eco Park from next year. The West Bengal Zoo Authority has got the approval of master layout plan for ‘Harinalaya Mini Zoo’ at New Town from Central Zoo Authority (CZA) recently. The development makes it the 12th recognized mini zoo in Bengal.

Though Harinalaya — spread over 10 acres — has been operating since 2016, the move by CZA finally gives it an official recognition.

Talking to TOI, state zoo authority member secretary V K Yadav said that the zoo will house giraffes, hippos and zebras that will be shifted from the Alipore Zoological Gardens once the entire facility is ready by the end of this year. “Initially, we plan to bring four giraffes, four zebras and two hippos from Alipore zoo. But before that, the final enclosure designs need clearance from the CZA. The designs are ready and we hope to get an approval for the same from CZA by February,” Yadav said, adding that they will start the construction soon after that. “We are eyeing a deadline of 2020-end. If all goes well, the mini zoo will be fully operational from 2021,” he added.

According to him, the mini zoo will also house turtles, an aviary and a pheasantry. Harinalaya is located beside gate number 6 of Eco Park and visitors now don’t have to shell out any additional fees to visit the place. The usual entry fee of Rs 30 per person, includes the charges to Harinalaya.

Inaugurated in 2016, by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Harinalaya now houses a few spotted deer and barking deer. Though forest department had developed its plan, Hidco had allotted funds for it, said Yadav. “We also have plans to write to Hidco, seeking additional 10 acres from them so that the mini zoo can be developed in future,” said Yadav.

Commenting further on the enclosure design, a senior official said that CZA gives specifications on enclosures for each and every animal. “So, before bringing the animals, we have to get sanctions for the final enclosure designs, which have been planned as per CZA guidelines, from the central authority,” the official added.

This may ease some pressure on the Alipore zoo as well. A senior official had earlier said that the Alipore zoo is now flooded with rescued animals. “A zoo can’t display exotic animals and birds beyond a certain percentage of the total animals on display. Land is the need of the hour and we had earlier urged the agencies concerned to help us find land,” the official had said.


Source: Times of India

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