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Infrastructure first, leopards later

While it is heartening to hear that Byculla Zoo one of India’s oldest will be getting two leopards from Sanjay Gandhi National Park soon, one wonders whether that is the right thing to do, given the zoo’s infrastructural woes.

In a sorry state
Visitors to the zoo have been complaining about the sorry state of the animal enclosures and how the animals are not being taken care of properly.

In the summer, it was observed that the containers of drinking water inside the animal enclosures were empty and authorities did not pay heed when this was pointed out to them.

While some may argue that the infrastructure will be in place after the zoo is revamped, readers should note that the revamp has been in the pipeline for quite some time, but the actual work is yet to begin.

Revamp delayed
The Central Zoo Authority had given the clearance to the BMC’s amended master plan last year and the work was expected to be complete in 2015, but it seems very unlikely that this deadline will be met.

In our view, authorities should first ensure that the enclosures for the animals come as close as they can to their natural habitat, before thinking of bringing other animals in.

Variety is welcome
As part of its grand revamp, the zoo plans to get fauna like zebras, Humboldt penguins, exotic marine fishes, tigers, Asiatic lions, wild dogs, bison and deer.

The presence of all these species will not only enthral but also educate visitors about the diversity that nature has to offer. Seeing these animals at close quarters will definitely be an experience to remember.

The zoo authorities can probably take some lessons in maintenance from the beautifully restored and immaculately kept Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum next door so that both visitors and the animals are spared any unpleasant experiences.

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