Snake, deer parks to be reopened

Staff Reporter

Facilities to be expanded as per zoo norms

The parks were earlier ordered to be closed down

Compensation for those killed by wild elephants raised

PALAKKAD: Forest Minister Benoy Viswom said here on Friday that the State government would create necessary facilities to meet the Zoo Authority of India (ZAI) guidelines for the revival of the Malampuzha Snake Park and the Walayar Deer Park. These parks had been closed down by the ZAI earlier.

The Minister was talking to mediapersons at the Forest Circle Office in Olavakkode. He said the Malampuzha Snake Park would be expanded to accommodate the large number of reptiles. The ZAI had also ordered the closure of the Walayar Deer Park as it did not meet the conditions required for licence to run it.

Mr. Viswom said permission for revival of revival of these parks had been granted following an assurance given by the State government to comply with the ZAI guidelines. He said a team of officials from the ZAI would visit the parks during October-November to inspect the facilities and issue necessary guidelines for its revival and expansion.

The Minister said the State government had decided to increase the compensation paid to the legal heirs of those killed by wild elephants from Rs.50,000 to Rs.1 lakh.

He said the Forest Department would take strict steps to prevent ‘ganja’ cultivation in the forests. A vast tract under ganja cultivation was destroyed in the Nemmara Forest Division in Palakkad district recently. He said a meeting of Forest Ministers of south India had discussed measures to coordinate efforts to prevent ganja cultivation in the forests, especially in the inter-State borders. The annual meeting of the Ministers of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh had become a permanent set up to co-ordinate efforts to control forest and wildlife offences, he said.

The Minister said the Forest Department had retrieved 436 acres of forest land from encroachers in Olavakkode circle during the last two years. More forest areas that had been encroached upon would be resumed, he said.

Replying to a question, the Minister said work on the demarcation of areas for the buffer zone of the Silent Valley National Park was progressing and would be completed soon.

Mr. Viswom said the Forest Department planned to implement a programme to plant saplings outside the forest area to combat the challenge posed by global warming.

After the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government came to power, 51 lakh saplings had been planted in the State under the social forestry scheme, he said.

The Minister said the Forest sports meet would be held here from October 18 to 20. He released the logo of the Forest Sports meet at the press conference.

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