In his special address at the valedictory, Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Shri BhupenderYadav, congratulated everyone for their efforts at species conservation and reiterated the importance of all-around protection of wildlife, wild habitats, and natural resources.
Assuring that Zoos will be an important subject for discussion during the State forest minister s dialogue henceforth the Union Environment Ministerencouraged zoos to become financially independent and consider CSR and public-private partnerships and 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.
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 on today, there are more than 150 recognized 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, 3 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 sessions ‘were chaired by eminent personalities in the field of zoo and wildlife conservation and included deliberations and discussions.
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.
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
• 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.
• 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.
AzadiKaAmritMahotsav – A Compilation (Vol 1)- CZA in support with the zoos across the country tool upon themselves to follow the clarion call given by Shri Narendra Modi on 12th of March 2021 to celebrate the AzadiKaAmritMahotsav. The theme for the celebration has been to showcase 75 species across 75 zoos through massive outreach programs in the 75 weeks. Since the launch of the initiative, more than 1000 hours of outreach have 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.
At the valedictory, MrsSudha 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 emphasized 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.
An outreach movie titled ‘Live in harmony with nature, stop 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 4 categories – outstanding contributions by zoo director/ curator, biologist/ educationists, veterinarian and the animal keeper/ zoo frontline.
The winners of this year are:
• Outstanding Animal Keeper – Shrimati Lakhidevi, BhagwanBirsa zoological Park, Ranchi Jharkhand.
• Outstanding Educationist/ Biologist – Shri Harpal Singh, Educationist MahendraChaudhary Zoological Park ChatbirPunjab.
• Outstanding Veterinarian – DrIlliyaraja Agra Bear Rescue Facility, Uttar Pradesh
• Outstanding Director – Dr Vibhu Prakash Mathur, Director Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore Haryana.
The valedictory program was also attended by Dr S P Yadav, Member Secretary Central Zoo Authority, Mr S. Tikadar, PCCF& CWLW Gujarat, DrSonali Ghosh, DIG CZA and Dr Ram RatanNala, Director SVPZP, Kevadita along with senior officials of the Central and State Government.
Download/View the Vision Plan (2021-2031) for Indian Zoos