Nagpur: The development could be bad news for wildlife lovers in general and citizens in particular as the city’s decades old attraction Maharajbagh Zoo has landed in trouble. According to media reports, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), Delhi, has reportedly cancelled recognition of Maharajbag Zoo due to violation of certain norms. The CZA had laid down stringent conditions before granting annual extension last year. The media reports further said that CZA has prepared a letter in this regard and submitted it to the Member-Secretary for his signature. The letter will be sent to the Controller of Maharajbag zoo shortly.
Failure to improve conditions in Maharajbagh Zoo by the concerned authorities seems to be the reason for not giving further extension to recognition to the major attraction of the city. The CZA had suggested several measures suggested to the Zoo authorities to correct the wrong in view of the fact that Maharajbagh Zoo is committed to the goal of breeding and conservation of rare species of animals that are in danger of becoming extinct. It is learnt that CZA had suggested to the zoo authorities about upgrading enclosures, erecting new enclosures, improving facilities for visitors, upgrading vet aspect, closing morning walk/yogasan activities, filling up of vacant posts on at least contract basis, companion for single animal, overall strengthening of zoo in the interest of wildlife and visitors etc, media reports said.
According to media reports, Maharajbagh Zoo authorities had submitted master plan to CZA in 2016 and zoo layout plan in February 2018. But, so far, the regulator has not approved both the plans. In absence of the approval, they cannot take up development works. A hearing was held at Delhi on July 11 this year before CZA. It was assured by CZA to approve the plans in the next meeting but nothing has been done. The zoo has also submitted an application for renewal of the recognition but it has not taken any decision.
A sanction is required for upgrading cages for Schedule I/II animals but for that purpose approved drawing/designing is necessary. In absence of approval to the layout plan, all these works are held up. The CZA authorities have written to Maharashtra Zoo authorities for acquisition and pairing of the animals but they have not taken any decision. There is one tigress, one jackal and one sloth-bear needing companions but the authorities are in a fix in view of the decision.
Maharajbag Zoo is the pride of Orange City as this green lung is situated in the centre of the city. It was ‘Shikarkhana’ of the erstwhile ruling Bhonsala dynasty, which was subsequently transferred to the British regime and came on record of the Department of Agriculture, C P & Berar as Maharajbag Zoo in 1894. It was transferred to Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth in 1969, under the administrative control of the College of Agriculture, Nagpur.
Media reports further said that the Zoo which is located in heart of Nagpur, has been prime destination for morning walkers, families for recreation and to breath fresh air. However, the CZA asked zoo authorities to close down morning walk and yoga activities, held at this place since decades, only to evoke a sharp response from citizens.