Emphasis on conserving endangered Western Ghats species

The Thiruvananthapuram Zoo is set for a major restructuring with special emphasis on conserving the endemic and endangered species in the Western Ghats.

In the master plan submitted by the State Department of Museums and Zoos to the Central Zoo Authority of India, emphasis has been given to restructuring the space to accommodate the various species based on the type of fauna. Hence from the existing taxonomically ordered and ecological-habitat based classification, the zoo will shift to a theme-based ordering.

Three major fauna, including Western Ghats, African and Asian, will be devised as the major sections for the zoo.

According to Zoo Director K. Udaya Varman, focus would be on the natural display of animals and birds similar to their natural habitat.

The Central Zoo Authority had specified that no new collection plan could be proposed, and space constraints had been cited as the reason, he said.

Space constraints

Space constraints for prolific breeders like the deer species is still a major concern as the population rate has not come down despite constant sterilisation and segregation process. This means that no new species would be procured for the zoo.

The present change is in tune with the shift in the policy of animal collection in zoos where the norm of accommodating unlimited number of animals with limited facilities has been changed to providing adequate facilities to limited number of animals.

The drawbacks of the enclosures of primates such as lack of activity-stimulating devices like ropes, lofts and hammocks either in the open paddock area or in cages, and the less troop strength of animals exhibited in the open enclosure will also have to be rectified.

Theme-based ordering

The former veterinary surgeon at the zoo Joe Jacob, during whose term the master plan was first submitted for approval, said that the new theme-based arrangement would require shifting the animals from their current habitats, and rehabilitating them according to the type of fauna.

“For example, in the existing classification based on Taxonomy, the Capuchin Monkey and Rhesus Macaque which are not endemic to the Western Ghats are teamed with Lion-Tailed Macaque which belongs to the Western Ghats fauna. Similar changes have to be made so that the species are grouped according to their region of habitat,” Mr. Jacob said.

Awareness creation

The Central Zoo authorities have also directed to provide opportunities for public education on the fauna and creating environment awareness to make the zoo a hub of educational activities.

The new plan also had a disaster management plan as escapes of zoo animals, natural disasters and aberrant human behaviour could create unforeseen emergency situations, according to Mr. Varman.