Zoo Association to decide on conservation policy

V.S. Palaniappan

Coimbatore: The sixth annual conference of the South Asian Zoo Association for Regional Cooperation (SAZARC) will deliberate on evolving a policy for in situ conservation of endangered species.

The five-day meet that began on Thursday at the Karl Kubel Institute at Anaikatti, on the outskirts of Coimbatore, has been organised by the Zoo Outreach Organisation (Zoo), the Wildlife Information Liaison Development Society and the Zoological Park Society. Delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the U.S. and the U.K. attended the conference.

Speaking at the inauguration, R.K. Sahu, Director of SAZARC and Kamala Nehru Zoo, Ahmedabad, said the conference aimed at educating zoo managers across South Asia to redefine the objectives of a zoo.

Zoological parks should be seen more as a centre for conservation, education and research for the welfare of wildlife rather than mere recreation centres. Once a policy was evolved among wildlife zoo managers, zoo authorities would be impressed upon the need for entering into tie-ups and signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the forest authorities in their respective countries for in situ conservation of endangered species.

This would bring about cooperation, coordination and collaboration in making the Zoological parks in the Asian countries better.

Sally Walker, Honorary Director of the ZOO and a Director of SAZARC, said the objectives of the conference were to impart knowledge to zoo managers and improve the condition of zoological parks.

Brigadier Hant Parera, Director of the National Zoo, Sri Lanka, said his country had taken the lead in forming a separate Ministry for zoological parks and botanical gardens. Sri Lanka terms the zoological parks "conservation centres."

The first day of the conference had a presentation by Brenden Whittingdon Jones representing Kabul Zoo in Afghanistan.