Sujay Mehdudia

NEW DELHI: Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday announced that the Central Zoo Authority had prepared a 2020 Vision Document for the revamping and modernisation of 196 zoological parks in various parts of the country during the next 10 years.

Mr. Ramesh, who visited the Delhi Zoological Park and reviewed the functioning of the Central Zoo Authority on the occasion, said Delhi would have the privilege of having India’s first “Natural History Museum” alongside the present zoo.

He said the museum would come up on 7 acres of land that was being used as a car park by the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO).

World Zoo Congress

Mr. Ramesh also announced that India would hold the World Zoo Congress in 2014, the venue of which will be decided later.

The Minister said that the area already had a Science Museum, and with the addition of the Natural History Museum would create a large complex for children alongside the Delhi Zoo.

Mr. Ramesh said a lot needed to be done to manage zoos across the country better, and that modern management methods and the latest technology should be used to make it a lifetime experience for visitors.

“Animals in diplomacy”

Stating that he was looking to adopt a new but more positive policy to involve animals in diplomacy, Mr. Ramesh said his Ministry was also considering the exchange of animals with other countries. Germany and two other countries had already asked for Indian elephants.

“We can use this as an effective instrument of economic diplomacy, something that was done years ago by the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who used to gift animals, including elephants, to friendly countries as part of diplomacy,” the Minister said.