Assam: Row Over Transfer Of Exotic Animals To Gujarat Zoo
The move of authorities at the Assam State Zoo Cum Botanical Garden to transfer several exotic animals to a Gujarat Zoo has been criticized by various organisations and political parties with the DFO of the State Zoo now clarifying stand.
GUWAHATI: In what has come as a serious allegation against the Guwahati-based Assam State Zoo Cum Botanical Garden, several exotic animals that were earlier recovered from smugglers from various parts of the state were being transferred to a private zoo in Gujarat.
These exotic animals which include various exotic species of tortoises and monkeys among others are alleged to have been transferred to Greens Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Kingdom in Gujarat's Jamnagar owned by billionaire businessman Mukesh Ambani. These animals were seized by the state's forest department in the last several years from smugglers.
Although the move has triggered a row with several organisations including political parties like the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party criticising the move, the zoo authorities have so far maintained that the transfer of the animals is done with Central Zoo Authority or CZA's necessary authorization.
It may be mentioned here although the zoo in Jamnagar is a private entity, but it falls under the CZA. Spread over an area of 280 acres, the Greens Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Kingdom is all set to be counted as one of the largest globally with over animals from India and elsewhere in the world.
The Divisional Forest Officer of Assam State Zoo Cum Botanical Garden while clarifying its stand said, "All zoos in the country come under the purview of CZA and no animal exchange can be done without its approval."
The DFO added, "The exchange can be one-sided or both-sided depending on the decision of the technical committee of CZA."
Speaking further on the development that has triggered a controversy, DFO Kumar stated, "Never before have we seen the seizure of so many exotic animals in Assam. CZA permitted the transfer for better management and survival of these animals. The approval was purely temporary till the decision of the court came."
The DFO of the state zoo said that transfer of animals too other zoos in the garden was totally at a halt in the last 18 months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic but now that the situation has retuned back to normalcy, they are in touch with different zoo authorities for exchanging animals. Currently housing about 1200 animals including birds and reptiles, the state zoo will be soon be exchanging animals with zoos in Patna, Nandankanan, Pune and Mysore.
"We have received the permission for housing the giraffe, Royal Bengal tiger and a pair of zebras in the state zoo. Giraffes will be coming from Patna, Royal Bengal tiger from Pune and zebras from Mysore,"stated DFO Kumar.
Earlier on Sunday, the protest against the transfer of animals turned violent and many of the protestors were detained by the Police. The Asom Chiriakhana Suraksha Mancha (ACSM) had earlier alleged that although it was supposed to be an 'exchange' of animals, the Zoo authorities in Guwahati had carried out a transfer without bringing any animals from Gujarat to Assam.
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