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Karnataka: Revival plan gets underway for small zoos

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Bengaluru, Sep 30: In a bid to develop mini-zoos, the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) has come up with a novel idea of bigger zoos adopting smaller zoos.

Representational Image

The idea is to develop the mini zoo on the lines of the Mysuru zoo and an action plan for making it an attraction in the region was being prepared.

Some of mini zoos are getting a makeover with the support of the State government agencies, under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

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The best example is Binkadakatti Zoo in North Karnataka, which is nearing its 50th anniversary but has remained underdeveloped because of limited income.

Established in 1972 and located 50km from Hubli on Gutti-Vasco national highway 63, the zoo, which has been an attraction for both animal lovers and tourists, was accorded zoo status by the Zoo Authority of India (ZAI) in 1998. The zoo houses leopard, bear, and several varieties of birds crocodiles and snakes. There are 10 cages in the zoo, which are very congested.

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The zoo attracts around 70,000 visitors annually, yet has remained undeveloped as a result of limited income. It is now undergoing a revival with development works that will boost visitation.

Zoo Master Plan

After the Central Zoo Authority approved the master plan for Gadag zoo, it saw a walk-through aviary, signage boards, pavements and an administrative block. Also, visitors to the zoo have no drinking water facility even after sinking three borewells. Visitors also have no proper benches to sit and relax. The action plan is expected to address these problems.

The CZA has allowed the display of 22 species at Gadag zoo.

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The Mysuru zoo and the Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bengaluru, the major zoos under ZAK, are financially stable with good footfall and enough potential to revive smaller zoos on the brink of closure.

At present income through gate collection at the mini zoos was lowest. If zoos have to be financially self-reliant, the revenue must go up and this can happen only if the number of visitors goes up. For this, the zoos should be more attractive to tourists.

Animal Exchange programme

To achieve more footfalls, the ZAK is also planning for an animal exchange programme. Once the development work at Gadag Zoo gets over, a variety of animals from Mysuru and Bhannerghatta Zoo will be brought to Gadag to make it an attraction in the region and thus increasing the revenue.

There are eight Zoological Garden's under Zoo Authority of Karnataka of which only Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens and Bannerghatta Zoo are financially self-reliant. The other six Zoological Garden's in Belagavi, Davangere, Bellari ,Kalaburagi, Shivamogga, Gadag are crying for attention.

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