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24 Sep 2020, Edition - 1899, Thursday

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Coimbatore

Positive response expected to local authority’s attempt to retain zoo

Jabez John Anand

Despite much criticism on the alleged lack of maintenance of the VOC Zoo, which is one of the very few zoos in the world to be maintained by the local body, the latest attempt made by officials to retain the zoo in the same spot seems to be working as they expect a positive response from the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZA).

The report submitted by the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC) to CZA is expected to return with a positive nod to the changes proposed by an expert team formed by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department on the request of CCMC officials.

According to a senior Corporation official, the team had suggested an increase in the size of the zoo, as the major lapse pointed out by the CZA was limited space provided to many exhibits. The current zoo, set in an 8 acre land near the Nehru stadium in the core limits of the city, houses around 800 exhibits, including birds and mammals.

“The initial suggestion was to make use of the space in the VOC Park nearby to increase the size up to 11 acres, which would help adhere to the updated norms of the CZA, like distance between the enclosures and the space between the cages and the visitors,” the official informed.

The officials also opined that the idea was to keep the zoo in the same place as many locals felt that the spot was apt. “The environment is very healthy for the animals. There are nearly a thousand wild fruit bats, residing in the trees in the VOC park premises, an indicator of the healthy environment,” said an official.

Shifting the zoo to another place was only a long term plan or in other words, “plan B” according to authorities, as the current place was more preferred.

However, much to the dismay of locals, the only development work, set to begin once the CZA gives the nod, will be a botanical garden, as the major suggestion given by the expert team was to get rid of additional exhibits. The zoo currently holds many special attractions including golden pheasants, African grey parrots (which can imitate many sounds), Malabar pied hornbill, Indian eagle owls and many other mammals and birds.

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