The Government plans to restructure Central Zoo Authority to give it more teeth, Minister for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh told Rajya Sabha today.
He said during Question Hour that the Central Zoo Authority in its present form is "hardly an authority" and the proposal is to make it more effective.
There is a proposal to set up five regional offices of the Authority. The proposal will go to the Cabinet soon, he said.
The Central Zoo Authority oversees and enforces minimum standards the norms for upkeep and healthcare of animals in Indian zoos through Recognition of Zoo Rules, and provides them technical and other assistance for improvement and restrains mushrooming of unplanned and ill?conceived zoos.
He also said that Master Plans for all the 198 zoos in the country are being prepared. With this, ?I hope to see some improvement in the way zoos are maintained in the country," he said.
Of the 198 zoos in the country, only one is run by the Central government and the rest are by state government, NGOs, private individuals etc.
On setting up of new zoos, he said new proposals need approval of the Central Zoo Authority as well as the Supreme Court.
"I am very cautious in so far new zoos are concerned," he said adding only consolidation and relocation proposals are being approved.
During 2009-10, 1,792 animal reportedly died in different recognized zoos of the country, Mr. Ramesh said. "The mortality rate is 6?7 per cent which is not alarming by international standards but certainly a case of worry."
The mortality rate of zoo animals in India was well within the international norm of 7-8 per cent, he said while stressing on bringing it down further.
To another question, Mr. Ramesh said breeding of vultures, one of the endangered species, has been successful and they will soon be seen on Indian skies again.
"We are indeed very much concerned about revival of endangered species," he said adding Central Zoo Authority has taken up breeding of 14 critically endangered species.