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Friday, September 22, 2023

India to Focus on Local Birds and Animals in Zoos as Priority Species for Conservation

Union Minister Shri Bhupender Yadav calls on zoos in India to prioritize the conservation of local birds and animals

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Pradeep Chamaria
Pradeep Chamaria
I am a photojournalist. Love to travel to unknown and unexplored vistas. Since 1992, I make places desirable for other travelers through experiential Travel Writing.

INDIA. Gujarat: The Central Zoo Authority hosted in Sardar Patel Zoological Park, Kevadia, Gujarat, a two-day national conference for zoo directors and veterinarians.

In his special speech at the valedictory, Shri Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, congratulated everyone for their efforts in species conservation and reiterated the importance of comprehensive protection of wildlife, wild habitats and natural resources.

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Ensuring that zoos will be a major topic of discussion during the State forest minister’s dialogue henceforth, Shri Bhupender Yadav encouraged zoos to become financially independent and to consider CSR and public-private partnerships. In addition to that, he called for zoos to focus on local birds and animals as priority species for conservation.

Shri Yadav highlighted the importance of conservation awareness and its value in conflict mitigation strategies and proposed an inclusive way forward for zoos and Nagar Vans by incorporating suggestions from zoo officials and using them to prepare short and long-term action plans.

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The primary aim of this national conference was to discuss and deliberate on the new frontiers in zoo management and ex-situ conservation in the country. As of today, there are more than 150 recognised zoos and rescue centers in the country that adhere to the guidelines and high standards of wild animal welfare.

On day two of the conference, three technical sessions were held to cover various aspects pertaining to scientific management of zoos in the country, dealing with challenges of wildlife trade and inclusion and involvement of the citizens in the science of conservation thereby securing the concept of the ‘People’s Connect which is of supreme importance for all Zoos in India. The session was chaired by eminent personalities in the field of zoo and wildlife conservation and included deliberations and discussions.

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Shri Yadav actively participated in the sessions and encouraged the speakers and the zoo community as a whole to continue their selfless work and the innovation and endeavors for the protection of wildlife and wild habitats.

Important publications of the Central Zoo Authority

Along with Shri Kiritsinh Rana, Minister for Forest and Environment, Government of Gujarat, the Union Environment Minister also released three important publications of the Central Zoo Authority:

1. Vision Plan (2021-2031) for Indian zoos to upgrade them to global standards and strengthening of Central Zoo Authority

The vision document is committed to making CZA and Indian zoos a greater force for conservation by providing unparalleled animal care, cutting edge research, and immersive visitor experiences that strike meaningful chords with people of all ages. The exhaustive 10 years vision plan has been arrived at after a very stringent data mining and stakeholder consultive process and is expected to give a direction towards ex-situ conservation approaches in India.

2. WASH Manual for Zoos

Access to water and sanitation in public spaces is an essential element of sustainable WASH management. CZA in collaboration with UNICEF has now developed a Guideline to provide guidance to zoos for creating and maintaining WASH facilities within their premises for staff and visitors.

3. Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav – A Compilation (Vol 1)

CZA in support with the zoos across the country tool upon the themselves to follow the clarion call given by Shri  Narendra Modi on 12 March 2021 to celebrate the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. The theme for the celebration has been to showcase 75 species across 75 zoos though massive outreach programs in the 75 weeks. Since the launch of the initiative, more than 1000 hours of outreach has been achieved.  To showcase and compile the same, a coffee table book style compilation of celebrations during the first 25 weeks as vol 1 was also launched today.

What has been done further to support animal and bird conservation

At the valedictory, Mrs. Sudha Murthy, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation was felicitated and she delivered the plenary speech on the deep connection with animals and their positive impact. Mrs. Murthy emphasised the aspect of compassion that is developed when children interact with animals, and how this connection with nature became even more important during the pandemic year.

The Prani Mitra Awards

An outreach movie titled ‘Live in harmony with nature, stop the illegal trade in wildlife’ produced by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau was also released on the occasion. The dignitaries also gave away the CZA constituted Prani Mitra Awards that are given every year under four categories: outstanding contributions by zoo director or curator, biologist educationists, veterinarian, and the animal keeper/ zoo frontline.

The winners of this year’s Prani Mitra Awards are:

  • Outstanding Animal Keeper: Shrimati Lakhidevi, BhagwanBirsa zoological Park, Ranchi Jharkhand.
  • Outstanding Educationist or Biologist: Shri Harpal Singh, Educationist Mahendra, Chaudhary Zoological Park Chatbir, Punjab.
  • Outstanding Veterinarian: Dr. Illiyaraja Agra Bear Rescue Facility, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Outstanding Director: Dr. Vibhu Prakash Mathur, Director Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore Haryana.


  • Pradeep Chamaria

    I am a photojournalist. Love to travel to unknown and unexplored vistas. Since 1992, I make places desirable for other travelers through experiential Travel Writing.

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