New Delhi (NG News)
Indian Environment, Forest & Climate Change minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday announced to establish a Centre of Zoo Sciences at New Delhi soon to bring major changes in the functioning of the zoos in the country.
Javadekar said that the aim behind setting Centre of Zoo Sciences would be to bring about a turn-around changes in the functioning
of the zoos in the country, infuse scientific and technical culture in the present system and make the zoos more visitor friendly.
“The proposed institution would act as a Technical Advisor to the Central Zoo Authority and to provide expert help to the States and UTs in ex-situ conservation breeding of endangered species, and organize training courses for in-service zoo personnel and stakeholders in India as well as for zoo personnel of South Asian countries,: Javadekar said while delivering his inaugural address at the 69th Annual Conference of World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
He said the theme of the Conference “Bio-diversity is Us” was quite appropriate for India, a land of diverse habitat eco-system, culture, religion, tradition, language and food.
This was also manifested in the country’s cultural tradition that preserved about 13,270 secret groves across the country by the people.
India with only 2.4 percent of the World’s land area was home to 7-8 percent of the World’s bio-diversity spanning across 91,000 species of animals and 45,000 species of plants. It also had four of the 34 globally identified biodiversity hotspots, supports about 50 percent of the world’s tiger population and 60 percent of Asian elephant and rhino population including the only surviving population of the Asiatic lion.
He also highlighted the initiatives undertaken by the Ministry for the conservation of endangered species. He mentioned the initiative for setting up of Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species at Hyderabad, National Stud Book Cell at Wildlife Institute of India, and major zoos of the country becoming member of the International Species Information System to utilize the web-based Zoological Information Management System with the help of CZA had been undertaken to compliment the ongoing conservation breeding programme for various endangered species.
Indian government had also initiated a programme for disaster management in the zoos in order to deal with recent incidents involving visitors inadvertently falling into the animal enclosures. The Minister also mentioned that the action plan for the conservation of vultures had been a great success with support being offered for conservation breeding centre for 23 species which included various endangered species.
Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ashok Lavasa, who was also present on the occasion, said that preserving nature was our ethical responsibility and the prime symbol of development would be to successfully conserve nature and ecosystems. He further stated that the Ministry was in the process of bringing about comprehensive changes in the Wildlife Act to incorporate international conventions and practices on environment protection.
World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has organized this five-day Conference to initiate discussions and create public awareness about preserving bio-diversity and contributing towards achieving Aichi targets for Global Biodiversity Conservation.