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Coimbatore bird park awaiting Centre's nod

By Our Staff Reporter

Coimbatore Dec. 3. A proposal to establish a bird park of international standards in Coimbatore, on the lines of the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore, awaits the Centre's clearance, according to V.S. Vijayan, director, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore.

Talking to mediapersons here yesterday at the 107th birth anniversary celebrations of ornithologist and founder of the SACON, Salim Ali, he said the SACON had submitted its feasibility report to the Centre. A meeting would soon be held in New Delhi for further discussions and the Government nod might come in a month. Dr. Vijayan was part of a four-member committee that visited Singapore recently to study the park in that country and draft the proposal.

``The Jurong Bird Park is said to have the largest number of species, nearly 600, in the world. There are a couple of other parks, but since this was the best known we have planned to have a look-alike.''

The project is roughly estimated at Rs. 30 crores and the cost of the initial phase has been put at Rs. 10 crores. ``Once the sanction is obtained, we will look out for a nearly 300-acre site, which has abundant water and a forest atmosphere. It should also be easily accessible to the public, especially students.'' Dr. Vijayan is keen on establishing the park at the foothills of the Siruvani. ``It will be an ideal place, with plenty of water.''

The Singapore park had an exclusive Southeast Asia Bird Gallery with a walk-in aviary and an artificial waterfall. ``It was like walking into a forest and we enjoyed watching the beauty of the birds. We saw children touching the birds and even feeding them. We plan a similar walk-in aviary in the proposed park. It will not look like a zoo. The birds would be kept in large enclosures with large trees around to give a natural look.''

Dr. Vijayan conceded that identifying the site would be a difficult task, but was confident that the work on the park would begin in six months. ``I expect the park to be completed in a couple of years. For a start, we will have about 25 species and then add more in the years to come.''

The SACON sub-centres would be opened at Jamnagar in Gujarat and at Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh.

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