New zoo plan in Sambalpur
Bhubaneswar: Forest and environment minister Bijayshree Routray told the state assembly on Tuesday that the proposal to set up a second zoo at Sambalpur was under active consideration of the state government.
Responding to a query of the Sambalpur MLA Raseswari Panigrahi, Routray said: "A decision to set up a zoo was taken in 2000. According to the preliminary field inspection, Niladunguru near Sambalpur town is the best place to set up the zoo.
The plan is still under active consideration and has not been shelved."
The minister further said: "The Sambalpur district collector has given a proposal to develop the wildlife animal conservation centre at Motijaharn and later to convert it into a zoo.
Expert Sudarshan Panda has prepared a detailed report to this effect. Steps have been initiated to prepare a detailed project report basing on Panda's report."
The Hirakud Wild Life Division has been directed to study the report and prepare a project report.
If the zoo comes up in Sambalpur, it will be the second zoo in the state after the state's only zoo in Bhubaneswar, the Nandankanan Zoo.
The zoo is a major attraction for tourists as it has nearly 151 species of animals. There are around 2669 animals, including 634 mammals, 812 birds and 134 reptiles. It has about 88 species of indigenous species along with 32 exotic species of animals.
The Nandankanan Zoological Park is a 400-hectare zoo and botanical garden in Bhubaneswar.
It was established in 1960. It was opened to the public in 1979 and became the first zoo in India to join World Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2009. More than 30 lakh people visit the zoo every year.
However, animals are dying frequently at the zoo. The death of a zebra, which the state had procured from Israel, had triggered a furore. In 2017-18, nearly 27 animals died at the zoo due to various reasons.