Bengal Forest Department seeks approval for zoo at Eco Park
The West Bengal Forest Department has sent a proposal to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for developing a mini open-air zoo having two sections - herbivore and carnivore - at the Eco Park in New Town, the emerging satellite township near Kolkata city. The Eco Park already has a deer park called the Harinalaya which will be developed as the herbivore section.
Two sections expected to come up by next year
A senior forest official said on Sunday they are awaiting the CZA approval, adding, that the forest department can only expect that the two sections in over 10 acres of land and neighboring patches will come up by next year attracting a lot of visitors.
Here are the proposals made by the forest department
"While at present the Harinalaya only houses spotted and barking deer, we have suggested to the CZA both deer and antelopes be kept in the herbivore section. There will be giraffe, zebra, hippo," he said. "We have also proposed setting up an aviary to accommodate a variety of local birds in the section and a shelter for reptiles, local species of turtles," he said.
Pandemic has delayed processing of the plan
Stating that the pandemic situation is causing a delay in processing the plan pending approval by CZA, the top official said, "We are holding online sessions with the authorities." "We hope there will be a positive response to the herbivore section which will then see it coming up in December," he added.
Carnivore section expected to come up in 2022
"We expect they will also give green signal to the carnivore section, housing big cats, hyenas, leopards, wild dogs to help it come up in 2022," the official said The official further said that unless the plan is approved by the central agency, the state cannot say the deer park will be converted into a mini open air zoo.
The plan was made last year after consultation with HIDCO
Harinalaya has around 37 deer and the plan was made by the forest authorities last year in consultation with officials of the Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO). "Presently, the deer inhabitants are having a great time with no visitors, vast swathes of green, and large water bodies nearby. The department will plant different fruit trees in the area as deer love fruits," he added.
Different species in herbivore section will be kept together
The official said, "Unlike the Alipore Zoological Gardens, which is a traditional zoo with different species of animals kept in different enclosures, in the herbivore section we would like to keep different species together as they live in forests." "This is a modern zoo concept and also ensures there is no strain on the food chain and ecosystem of that area," he added.