August 16, 2017
It has been years since plans began for the relocation of VOC park mini zoo. While a section of the people believes that the zoo should be moved out to a more spacious and eco-friendly area outside the bustle of the town, the zoo director has said that the present area will be extended.
The Central Zoo Authority last year issued notice to the Coimbatore city corporation asking why recognition for the zoo under its jurisdiction and control should not be revoked.
But authorities here believe that relocating the zoo to the city outskirts may see the visitor numbers fall. People may not want to travel that far to visit the zoo is what the authorities feel.
Other aspects like stress on captive animals when the zoo is in the heart of the city, health and animal welfare aspects too need to be considered.
The concept of zoo has changed worldwide, argues environment organization OSAI president K Kalidas. “Many countries have already set up eco-friendly and wildlife-friendly zoos which reduce the stress on the animals. Central zoo authority has been for quite a long time directing shifting of the zoo. It comes under the Coimbatore Corporation authority which has not finalized a new location,” Kalidas told The Covai Post.
The present location of the zoo is definitely not ideal. A modern zoo should be set up in Coimbatore and away from the city. This can be done easily through government-private partnership, he argues.
“A permanent veterinarian has to be present in the zoo. Animals in captive are more vulnerable to diseases than those in the wild because of contact with humans and other reasons. A medical officer taking charge is very good news but this is just a short-term remedy. A lasting solution is shifting the zoo to a location where animals will feel at home,” Kalidas said.
Skirting the issue of relocation, the zoo director told The Covai Post that the present premises would be extended.
“Animals in the zoo are healthy and are being provided healthy food too. This in not a zoo, it is a mini zoo. The Central Government authorities have visited and inspected this place and sanctioned fund for the extension and renewal of the zoo under the ‘smart city’ scheme.
“We have a wide variety of animals here ranging from reptiles to mammals. If they get in close contact with the public there are chances of the animals getting sick, but that is not happening now. We are following the central government’s norms,” said Dr E Senthil Nathan, who very recently took charge as Veterinary Officer-cum-ZooDirector.
The Corporation Commissioner was not available for comment.