200 acres of land identified near Yelwal for this purpose
The Central Zoo Authority of India (CZA) has identified 200 acres of land in a village near Yelwal, about 20 km from Mysore city, to set up the country's biggest gaur (Indian bison) conservation breeding centre.
The Mysore zoo, which has expertise in the captive breeding of gaurs and has the highest number of the species in captivity, will function as a “centre for conservation breeding of gaur”, said sources.
Gaur is one of the critically-endangered wild animal species among 61 species listed for conservation breeding. The Union Government will provide funds for the programme through the CZA.
Out of the 200 acres identified for the project, nearly 170 acres were notified forest land and the rest is “gomala” land, where the Forest Department had raised plantation crops. Conservator of Forests and the zoo's Executive Director B.P. Ravi told The Hindu that the Forest Department had agreed to transfer the forest land to the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK).
“If the land is transferred to ZAK, the Mysore zoo will send the management plan and the project report to the CZA for getting its approval and grants for launching the programme,” Mr. Ravi said.
However, the Deputy Commissioner is yet to take a decision on transferring the “gomala” land.
“I have given my opinion on the issue to the Deputy Commissioner and a decision is expected in the next 10 days,” he said. Mr. Ravi said he had requested the district administration to decide on notifying the “gomala” land at the earliest so that the entire 200 acres could be transferred to the ZAK for launching the breeding programme.
He said the Bondla zoo in Goa will assist Mysore zoo in the breeding programme.
Coordinated Conservation Breeding programme is the first-ever project of simultaneous breeding of critically-endangered species which was finalised at the international conference on ‘India's conservation breeding initiative' held in New Delhi in 2008.
It is observed that the zoos have not only to sustain their own population but also augment the depleting population of endangered species in the wild as wildlife habitats are under severe pressure and a large number of species of wild animals have become endangered.