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Three zoos in danger of being closed down

Shankar Bennur

ZAK has sought additional funds from the Government


Lack of revenue from zoos in Belgaum, Davangere, Gulbarga cited as the problem

The animals from these zoos will be shifted to the zoo coming up near Hampi


MYSORE: At least three of the eight zoos in the State may be closed down soon if the State Government does not consider allocating additional funds.

The Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) has been finding it “difficult” to run the zoos categorised as “mini-zoos” because of lack of revenue from them.

Its governing council, which met here recently, resolved to close down the zoos in Belgaum, Gulbarga and Davangere if the Government did not provide financial assistance.

The animals from these zoos will be shifted to the zoo coming up at Kamalapur, near Hampi.

However, the governing council has decided to retain Binkadakatte Zoo in Gadag. The Bellary zoo will be closed down once the Hampi zoo opens.

Member-secretary of ZAK and Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests M.N. Jayakumar told The Hindu that the governing council had sent its recommendations to the Government.

The closure of the three zoos is subject to government approval.

“By shifting the animals to larger zoos, the animals will get bigger enclosures and better facilities,” he argued.

Hampi zoo

Mr. Jayakumar said the Central Zoo Authority of India had given its nod for the Hampi zoo project and the master plan.

He said the zoo near Hampi was coming up on 120 hectares and the enclosures were specially designed so that animals had more space to move around.

The first phase of the work costing Rs. 22 crore was likely to commence soon. A major portion of the Rs. 70-crore project may be completed in the next 12 to 15 months, Mr. Jayakumar said.

‘Conscious decision'

“With Hampi being a prominent tourist destination and a World Heritage Site, a conscious decision was taken to establish the State's biggest zoo near Hampi to boost tourism,” he explained.

All the eight zoos in the State, including the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden, Mysore, and Bannerghatta Biological Park, Bangalore, come under ZAK.

While the ones in Mysore, Bangalore and Shimoga (Tavarekoppa) are categorised as major zoos, those in Davangere, Bellary, Gadag, Gulbarga and Belgaum are listed as mini-zoos.

Crying out for attention

All these years, the mini-zoos have been crying for attention. But perhaps because there is a lack of revenue from these zoos, the authorities did not take up any development works there.

In the meantime, the Government came up with the proposal of establishing a major zoo near Hampi. This gave the authorities the option of shifting the animals from the “non-viable” zoos to the zoo near Hampi.

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