Friday, April 29, 2016

Finally, Gir lions roar in Pipli zoo

Chandigarh: The prolonged wait of Geet and Sakshi -- a pair of Asiatic lions brought from Gujarat in December last year -- to roar in front of animal lovers visiting the Pipli zoo in Kurukshetra, came to an end on Wednesday when the state's forest department formally inaugurated their enclosures for the public. It was for the first time that Asiatic lions have been brought in the state's zoo.
The pair of big cats from Gujarat's Gir Forest were not displayed to the public so far on account of delay from chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who could not spare time to inaugurate the renovated zoo, due to violence in the state during the Jat reservation stir, and the assembly session. Even the renovated zoo was inaugurated on Wednesday by the state forest minister Rao Narbir Singh to avoid further delay.

The animals were brought via road by the state wildlife department in the third week of December last year, after clearance from the Central Zoo Authority of India and the Gujarat government. Spread over 27 acres of land along the National Highway-1 in Kurukshetra, the Pipli zoo was established in 1982, and is one of the three maintained zoos of the state wildlife department. It was recognized as a mini zoo by the Central Zoo Authority of India in August 2005.

Besides getting new enclosures for rare creatures, the renovated zoo has also an enclosure each for leopard, hippo, crocodile, jackal, and hyena. It has one aviary which houses the red jungle fowl, francolins, and a few species of exotic birds separately, and an enclosure that has deer and antelope species, such as black buck, sambhar, and cheetal. Most of these enclosures have been renovated with enhanced suitability at a cost of around rupees two crore, as per the plan approved by the Central Zoo Authority of India in New Delhi. A modern interpretation centre has also been established to provide information to visitors on the conservation needs of biodiversity and wildlife.

Dr Amarinder Kaur, principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden of Haryana, said that the renovated zoo at Pipli would not only entertain visitors, but also be helpful in research on various aspects of ecology, habits, and behaviour of wild animals and birds. Dr Kaur added that in order to involve the public -- particularly women in wildlife and environment conservation -- space has been provided to members of self-help groups at the zoo, where they can display their exhibits and sell their products.

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