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Plans for leopard safari at SGNP scrapped

A new proposal calls for a similar safari at the upcoming zoo at Aarey Milk Colony

Wildlife lovers and enthusiasts must brace themselves for some disappointing news. Their wait for a leopard safari just got longer, as plans to have a safari at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) are now scrapped. Instead, a plan to have the same at an upcoming zoo in Aarey Milk colony, has been proposed.

The safari will be on the lines of the tiger and lion safari at SGNP.  File Pic
The safari will be on the lines of the tiger and lion safari at SGNP. File Pic

Confirming the news, Vikas Gupta, SGNP director and chief conservator of forest (CCF) told sunday mid-day, “At present, there are no plans to have a leopard safari at SGNP. But we have proposed a plan to have a leopard safari at the zoo that is going to come up in Aarey Milk Colony. The plan is in its initial stage and will be carried out, provided we receive an approval from Central Zoo Authority.”

In 2011, mid-day had reported on the proposed safari which was to occupy 24 hectares of land inside the SGNP. The project was supposed to be complete and open to the public in 2012. According to current plans, the leopard safari will be constructed on 24 hectares of land at the Aarey Milk Colony zoo. Fences more than 20 feet high will surround the area, to prevent the leopards from climbing out.

The safari environment will resemble the leopards’ natural habitat there will be large trees for the leopards to rest on and fresh drinking water will be provided to them. The safari will operate on the lines of the tiger and lion safari at SGNP, wherein tourists are taken around in a mini bus.

The leopard safari will be the first-of-its-kind in the state and second in the country. At present, more than 20 leopards are being raised in captivity at SGNP. Most of them are either injured or man-eaters rescued and brought from various parts of Maharashtra such as Nashik, Ahmednagar and Pune.

The new safari
>> The new safari will be the first-of-its-kind in the city and the second in the country
>> Fences more than 20 feet high will surround the area, to prevent leopards from escaping 
>> The safari will have large trees for the leopards to rest on. Fresh drinking water will also be made available

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