Sunday, April 19, 2009
back in the news-jijamata udyan zoo garden -mumbai
established in 1861 and located at byculla and earlier known as victoria gardens,the jijamata udyan zoo popularly called rani bagh is spread over about 50 acres of land. with an imposing clocktower at the main entrance,the garden has trees some of them very old and it also has a museum called the bhau daji lad museum earlier known as albert museum which has a lot of local archaeological finds including an elephant which was brought from the elephanta caves.
the zoo which once boasted of a wide collection of wild animals like lions, tigers,elephants and bears has now been reduced to a zoo with very few rare species of animals and birds.upkeep of the animals has come under the scanner due to periodic deaths of the animals due to staff negligence. also the living conditions are appalling. the elephants are kept in small caged enclosures with their legs tied by chains.sometime back about a dozen antelopes died under suspicious circumstances.
in the last two months, i did what i hadn't done for ages. visit the zoo at byculla. thanks to my grandaughter whose school organised the trip. having viisted the zoo recently,i read with a profound sense of shock about the death of the six year old hippopotamus shakthi.we had seen the hippo family and taken some close pictures too.there are different versions of the cause of shakthi's death. while the authorities claim that he died because of respiratory failure, PETA( people for ethical treatment of animals) thinks that it could be the apathetic treatment which has caused the death. the water at the pond where the hippos are kept are not changed regularly. in fact it is downright dirty..there are five hippos in the zoo living like one happy family. the average life span of a hippo is between 35 and 40 years.there was an earlier bombay high court order in 2005 to relocate the five hippos. three were relocated but two remained. many animals in the zoo suffer from skin infection due to pathetic living conditions.in 2006 a large number of blackbucks had died.
the bmc has a rs 430 crores zoo revamp plan and exotic animals and birds are expected to be brought in.the zoo is expected to be redesigned in line with zoos abroad like in singapore.moats are planned to be constructed to create natural surroundings for the animals.the plan has already met with lot of opposition mainly for trying to concretise the lush gardens in the zoo complex. there are hundreds of beautiful rare trees and plants in the zoo which must be preserved .the flora and fauna is outstanding and a great treasure which we must maintain at all costs.