The proposal to build an ‘International Zoo’ at Aarey Colony in Goregaon is set to face its first test this month as a team from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) will visit the site in the second week of September to check the feasibility of the zoo plan.
“Our team is likely to visit the site in second week of September, but the exact date has not yet been fixed. We will survey the plot and check for the feasibility of the plan to have a zoo there,” said B S Bonal, Member Secretary, CZA. Wildlife curator Dr A K Malhotra will also be a part of the team, officials confirmed.
“We have prepared a draft plan for the CZA visit, but it is in the preliminary stage and is likely to keep changing depending on the CZA guidelines. The team will visit and gives us the guidelines,” said Vikas Gupta, chief conservator of forests, SGNP.
While the revamped Byculla zoo will be a typical zoo with caged animals, the Goregaon zoo, which will cost approximately Rs 100 crore, is proposed to be more interactive. The Goregaon zoo will have animal safaris and jungle trails that will resemble real-life habitats of wild animals.
Touted as an ‘extension’ of the Byculla zoo as CZA rules do not allow for a city to have two zoos, the Goregaon zoo’s animal collection plan include animals other than those in the Byculla zoo.
The SGNP had in June employed an agency to conduct the contour survey for the Aarey site. The area surveyed, a digital map of the area has been used to produce the draft master layout plan of the zoo. The state forest department and the BMC will jointly develop the zoo at Goregaon. The state government has already acquired the 190-acre from the Dairy Development Department last year, said officials.