Brij Kishor Gupta (second from left) near the lion enclosure at Tata Steel Zoological Park on Thursday. (Bhola Prasad)
A two-member team from Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has expressed “immense satisfaction” with the functioning of and facilities available at Jamshedpur’s Tata Steel Zoological Park.
CZA’s evaluating and monitoring officer Brij Kishor Gupta and deputy director (retd) of Nehru Zoological Park Hyderabad M. Naveen Kumar took stock of the animal, bird and reptile enclosures as well as the veterinary clinic during their visit to the zoo on Thursday.
The team’s day began with a short meeting with zoo director Bipul Chakravarty. Later, Gupta and Kumar had a close look at the hippo enclosure and as well as the one housing neelgais, spotted deer and barking deer. They also did a round of the sloth bear enclosure before visiting the lion and tiger arena. Chakravarty and zoo vet Manik Palit accompanied the team.
“We are here to evaluate this zoo. It has a good and hardworking team,” said Gupta, adding they will submit their findings to the technical committee of CZA, which will take a call on the renewal of accreditation, done every two to three years.
In what can be taken as a very positive sign, Gupta said the team was satisfied with whatever it had seen.
The CZA team, which placed a questionnaire on the overall functioning and health management of animals and birds before the Tata zoo authorities, recommended a new structure for housing sloth bears. “The current structure has developed cracks and is weak. We have asked it to be dismantled and a new one built,” said Kumar.
Besides, the team also recommended that the enclosure for neelgais, spotted deer and barking deer be made visible from one side and not from three. “The enclosure is visible from three separate locations. That’s not the way it should be according to CZA guidelines. More visibility will affect breeding of these animals,” added Kumar.
However, a sore point with the team was the presence of undergrowth and plastic waste in a small area near the lion enclosure. “Remove the bush and assure plastic waste is not strewn around,” Gupta told Chakravarty.
According to Kumar, Tata Zoo is an upcoming zoo in Jharkhand and CZA is supporting it with scientific and technical inputs. The animal exhibits are good and the zoo management has already prepared a master plan for effecting changes (as per CZA guidelines). “The master plan has already been approved by the CZA,” said Gupta.
The team was not aware about the recent intrusion by a middle-aged man inside the tiger enclosure but said details will be sought. “The height of the boundary wall needs to raised. The lion and tiger enclosure is quite noisy,” added Gupta.
Chakravarty informed that the work on increasing the height of the wall would begin soon.
Tata Zoo received its first conditional accreditation from CZA on August 19, 1993. Thereafter, the accreditation was renewed periodically, with the last being on February 25, 2010. Current accreditation of the zoo will expire on February 28, 2013. The last evaluation of the zoo was carried out on August 18, 2009.