Nagpur: According to report, India’s first night safari of international standards, a rehab centre for wild animals with facilities for vets’ intervention and resource building, a ‘human development trail’ that will explain the evolution of man – these are some of the facilities planned at the proposed international zoo at Gorewada in Nagpur.
The zoo, which will come up on 1,914-hectare plot and will enable people to view animals in their natural habitats and boost eco-tourism, was first proposed in 2005 and is long-pending. In 2011, the project, which will be developed on public-private partnership (PPP) basis, was handed over to the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM), Nagpur. The project will get a much-needed boost with most of the necessary permissions coming through.
“This will be the first project in India to have night safari facilities on lines of those in foreign countries like Singapore,” Sudhir Mungantiwar, minister for finance and forests told dna newspaper few days back. Mungantiwar said the works would be fully scaled up in around four months’ time. Private players will also be roped in. He said water bodies, adventure sports, hotels and theatres would be developed there along with signature pieces of architecture.
“This will be an ideal place for a family outing,” said Mungantiwar. Gorewada lake is a haven for many resident and migratory bird species. According to officials, quality tourist attractions like a butterfly park, African safari, bird park and a bio park will be set up, apart from a rail tour and a wildlife museum. Walking tracks and tribal village trails will give tourists an authentic experience.
Stating that there will be no paucity of funds, the minister said some elements would have to be funded using viability gap funding (VGF). “We have already received approvals from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for our masterplan and master concept plan,” said AK Nigam, managing director, FDCM. The project, which has an estimated cost of Rs 451 crore, will be developed in six years’ time, he said adding the government wants the time to be brought down.
“While the night safari would be located in the eastern part of the zoo, the northern area would be where one can see animals in their natural habitat,” he said. In the south, there will be a zoo enclosure safari where semi-caged animals will be on display, while the rehab centre, which will house injured wild animals and also act as a resource and capacity building centre, will be located in the western area.
Nigam said works on the rehab centre, which is spread over 25 hectares, one of the largest such facilities in India, was nearing completion. An MoU has been signed with the Maharashtra Animal and Fishery Sciences University, Nagpur, to take care of the wild animals housed there. A wildlife conservation, research and training centre will also be developed.
“This will also help produce a crop of young veterinarians with experience in treating wild animals. Today, few vets have the experience in handling these animals,” said Nigam.