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De-recognition of 91 zoos to be reviewed

By Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI, JAN. 10. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) will shortly send teams of experts across the country to look into the possibility of granting recognition, once again, to the zoos de-recognised over the years. The teams will ascertain the authenticity of claims made by the States to rehabilitate the animals of the 91 de-recognised zoos. The rehabilitation will be carried out in these zoos with the help of the local Government, corporations and non-governmental organisations.

The teams will visit the zoos by month-end to check the veracity of commitment made by the State Governments, barring Orissa, to rehabilitate the animals in the zoos that have been de-recognised for inadequacy of funds, technical and financial support for the health and welfare of the animals, P.R. Sinha, member CZA, told . Orissa has sought more time from the Authority. The decision to send the teams was taken at the meeting of the Zoo Authority held here last month.

The zoos, including 14 parks in Karnataka and the famous Deer Park of Dilshad Garden in Delhi, have been de-recognised over the past decade for failing to comply with the guidelines.

The Central Zoo Authority had, in December 2002, written to the State Governments to explore the possibility of running these zoos with the help of the corporate sector, municipal corporations, NGOs and financial aid from the local administration and even the CZA, if required. "The idea is not to harass the State Governments but to ensure the welfare of the animals in these de-recognised zoos," Mr. Sinha pointed out.

The Authority has received response from all State Governments who have, by and large, expressed their desire to address the factors that had led to the de-recognition.

The CZA officials feel that it is not an easy decision to close down the zoos because animals bred there cannot be forcibly released into the wilderness, as they would find it difficult to survive there and also, at times, pose a threat to the in-situ animal population. More importantly, there is no room in the other zoos where these could be shifted.

The CZA guidelines require a sustained supply of resources including finance and technical support and adequate land for granting recognition to a zoo. Zoos also need to have a long-term master plan for development with priority to endangered species.

The expert teams will visit four zoos in Andhra Pradesh, including the Deer Park in Tirumala Hills, two each in Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and one each in Chhattisgarh, Daman and Diu and Jharkhand, among others.

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