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Centre for Zoo Sciences to be set up

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New Delhi, Nov 3 (PTI) Government today announced setting up of a Centre for Zoo Sciences to assist recognised Indian zoos as well as zoos in South Asia in their development and management on scientific lines.

“We will have a Centre for Zoo Sciences,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said, adding there will be facilities for teaching, research, experiments and sharing of ideas like in universities

“We are thinking of setting up a Centre for Zoo Sciences in New Delhi to bring about a turn around in the functioning of the zoos and to infuse scientific and technical culture in the present system and make our zoos more visitor friendly,” he said.

The Minister was speaking after inaugurating the 69th annual conference of World Association of Zoos and Aquariums here. World zoo leaders have gathered in the national capital to attend the conference to be concluded on November 6.

Talking to PTI, officials in the Environment Ministry said the proposed center is visualised to act as a Technical Advisor to the Central Zoo Authority and provide expert help to the states and Union Territories in ‘ex-situ’ conservation breeding of endangered species.

It is envisaged to function as a referral centre for captive wild animal housing, zoo designing, master planning, disease diagnosis, visitor facilitations, marketing and other related issues for all the zoos in the country as well as for the zoos of the South Asia, they said.

Training courses for in service zoo personnel and stakeholders in India as well as for zoo personnel of South Asian countries will be organised at the center.

There will be facilities to conduct applied and field research in ‘ex-situ’ wildlife conservation and maintenance of “long-term National Studbooks for endangered species in Indian zoos in the proposed center,” officials said.

Studbooks is an important tool in scientifically managing ex situ population of wild animals and ensuring their sufficient size, demographic stability and high level of genetic diversity.

They said since its inception in 1992, the Central Zoo Authority has evaluated 347 zoos, out of which 164 have been recognised and 183 denied recognition.

Out of 183 zoos refused recognition, 92 have been closed down and their animals relocated suitably. Cases of the remaining 91 derecognised zoos are currently under review, they said.

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