Paving the way for major changes, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has approved a long due 20-year master plan for Nehru Zoological Park (NZP) that could see animal pairing and conservation take precedence over animal exhibition.
The plan proposes removal of bear and bison safaris to expand the lion and tiger safaris, and suggests moving big cat enclosures towards the zoo’s centre. It also recommends removal of monkey enclosures and proposes an ape enclosure.
Notable inclusion in the plan is a Mouse Deer Breeding Centre, adjacent to the existing Vulture Breeding Centre. The Mouse Deer programme is being implemented by Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) Lacones and the zoo, and has thus far been successful.
Officials expect the numbers to increase after a formal breeding centre is introduced. Additionally, a carnivore breeding centre and a carnivore rescue centre are also proposed.
The master plan was approved during the 74 Technical Committeemeetingof CZA held in May in New Delhi. According to Forest Department officials, the plan aims to bring functioning of the 332-acre NZP more in line with CZA ruling, which mandates breeding of endangered species, preventing unwarranted movement of free-ranging animals and setting up of animal rescue centres.
Officials said the new plan would require the zoo to procure mates for as many as 27 species of animals which are now single. “Animal pairing will be emphasised by way of exchanges. Until now, exchanges were mainly done for acquiring exotic species. The plan’s mandate is to restrict such exchanges for the sake of pairing and conservation,” said G. Ramakrishna Rao, a senior wildlife official, who had presented the plan during his tenure as curator earlier this year.
NZP has had problems with highly polluted water from the neighbouring Mir Alam Tank, which the plan intends to tackle. One of the main reasons for the inflow of water is an inadequate barricade between the park and the tank, along a stretch measuring nearly 130 meters.
“For fencing, the Zoo and Parks Authority of Telangana is expected to fund around Rs. 6 crore. The fencing is essential to prevent the influx of toxic water laden with heavy metals,” the official said.