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SOS Rhino : In the News : Bye Alipore, Bypass ahoy for fins & tails - State plan to shift aquatic zoo animals to 200-acre wildlife park awaits high court nod
  Bye Alipore, Bypass ahoy for fins & tails - State plan to shift aquatic zoo animals to 200-acre wildlife park awaits high court nod
The Telegraph, Calcutta

A rhino at the Alipore zoo: Time to move house?

Ratul doesnÍt live here anymore. Kadambini has moved out of Alipore and has left a forwarding address „ Bhagwanpur Mauza, off the EM Bypass.

Pending passing of a green plan, itÍs time for the rhino couple at Alipore zoo „ and most aquatic animals „ to pack their bags and get a move on.

For, a 200-acre nature-cum-wildlife park will come up off the Bypass stretch between Ruby Hospital and the Garia connector if the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee governmentÍs Ramsar Wetland Management Draft Plan is approved by the Calcutta High Court.

A government-appointed committee has earmarked over 200 acres of land for the Rs 10-crore extended zoological campus off the Bypass. The proposed park is the focal point of the plan chalked out by the environment department. And central to the plan is the shifting out of some animals from their cramped confines of the 45-acre Alipore Zoological Gardens.

According to environment department officials, over 60 per cent of the land identified for the nature park falls in the wetlands zone and so, primarily, aquatic animals will be housed here. Then, the rest may follow.

Calcutta High Court had issued an injunction on constructions in and around the wetlands area and asked the government to draw up a ñwise use management planî for the wetlands.

The government has been contemplating moving the cityÍs animal kingdom out of Alipore for over a decade now. State environment secretary Asim Barman will place the present plan before the ministry of environment and forests for approval on Wednesday.

The draft also envisages other projects such as creation of a wetlands interpretation centre, a medicinal plants-cum-horticulture farm to house endangered flora and a floriculture farm spread over the 12,740 hectare wetlands area. ñThere will be hardly any construction apart from minor fencing and installation of electric poles,î assured environment department officials. ñNot a single cottah of wetland will be touched,î asserted Barman.

Taking a cue from Chilika Lake and its dolphin sanctuary, CalcuttaÍs proposed nature park would showcase animals exclusive to the state. So, the bottle brush marsh mongoose will find pride of place along with otters and turtles.

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