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Friday, August 18, 2000

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Rehabilitation centre for rescued animals at Vandalur zoo

By P. Oppili

CHENNAI, AUG. 17. The Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre to house lions and tigers rescued from circuses, being built near Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur, is nearing completion and it will be open soon, according to Mr. P. R. Sinha, Member Secretary, Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI).

After a visit to the construction site on Thursday, Mr. Sinha said 40 lions and 20 tigers would be housed at Vandalur. Work had been completed to house 45 animals and the remaining part was nearing completion, he said. The CZAI had provided funds to the extent of Rs. 1.2 crores for the construction of enclosures.

The work began in December last year simultaneously in Vandalur in Tamil Nadu, Tirupathi and Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Bannerghatta in Karnataka. Another centre, coming up near Jaipur in Rajasthan, would be completed by December this year, he said.

The new rescue centre was one of the finest places for carnivores both technically and functionally. Ample space had been provided for the veterinarians to treat the animals and the animals will have more space to move around freely. Such a vast area was not available for carnivores even in the best zoos in the country, Mr. Sinha said, adding the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre was not open to the visitors.

Meanwhile, a group of circus animal owners had moved the Delhi High Court and got a stay order against seizure of their animals. Following the court direction, the animals had not been taken possession of by the CZAI. Efforts were on to file a counter, he said. However the court had ordered the circus owners not to exhibit the animals, he said.

The CZAI had also not completed the evaluation work to renew the `mini zoo recognition' to the Children's Park, Guindy. A team of experts would visit this Park soon and submit their report to the CZAI, after which the recognition was likely to be renewed. However, the CZAI had advised the State Wildlife officials to keep a fewer number of species at the Park, make the Park greener and conduct education programmes regularly for children.

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