Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Thursday said the proposed jungle safari park, reportedly the largest curated safari outside Africa spread across 10,000 acres in the Aravalli range in Gurgaon and Nuh, will have a zone for cheetahs. He said that the state government will consult the Centre to bring cheetahs at the safari park, alluding to Project Cheetah.
Khattar said that for the development of the safari park, 6,000 acres of land has been identified in Gurgaon and 4,000 acres in Nuh.
“Currently, the largest curated safari park outside Africa is in Sharjah, built across an area of about 2,000 acres. The proposed Aravalli park would be five times bigger. The jungle safari park will have ten zones and it would include a large herpetarium (a zoological exhibition space for reptiles and amphibians), an aviary/bird park…There will be four zones for big cats — lions, tigers and panthers— cheetah bi hum koshish karenge ki ek zone uske liye bnanaya ja sake (for cheetahs also, we shall try to make a zone), since getting cheetahs is difficult. But we recently saw how the Prime Minister, under Project Cheetah, made arrangements to bring cheetahs to Madhya Pradesh, we will also deliberate and seek assistance from the Centre if a cheetah can be brought at this safari,” Khattar told the media in Chandigarh.
He added that the safari would have a large area for herbivores; an area for exotic animal birds; an underwater world; a nature trail, walking, trekking, and cycling for tourists; a visitor tourism zones comprising an auditorium for 3D shows and exhibition of historical facts; a study centre; botanical gardens (biomes), equatorial, tropical, coastal, and desert areas.
Khattar was speaking after returning from Dubai where he and Union Minister for Forest, Environment and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav had visited the Sharjah Safari Park last week.
“In the last week, I went to Dubai twice. The first tour was on September 28 and 29… After the declaration of land as forest area, the safari will be developed. Several consultations are going on. Land under sections 38 and 80 of the Indian Forest Act will be acquired for the project… Companies with international experience in designing and operating such facilities have been shortlisted. The central zoo authority has done an evaluation study of the area for this and has agreed upon the technical feasibility of setting up such a park,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the development of the safari will give a major boost to tourism in the state and generate employment opportunities for locals.
“With proximity to Delhi, people from NCR will be able to visit the safari over weekends. Similarly, the Delhi airport’s proximity will help attract foreign tourists. The villagers in the surrounding villages will benefit from the homestay policy… An Aravalli Foundation will be set up to manage the project. It will be a joint project of the central government, Haryana government and any other stakeholder who wishes to join,” he added.
Khattar said, “The Aravalli mountain range is a cultural heritage where many species of birds, wild animals, butterflies, etc. are found. As per a survey, in this jungle safari, 180 species of birds, 15 species of mammals, 29 species of aquatic animals and reptiles and 57 species of butterflies that exist in the Aravalli mountain range will be included in this safari,” he said.
Gurgaon district administration had earlier said that 6,000 acres of land for the proposed jungle safari, which falls in Gurgaon district, has been earmarked in ten villages of Shikohpur, Bar Gujjar, Nauranpur, Tikri, Aklimpur, Gairatpur Bass, Sakatpur, Ghamroj, Bhondsi and Alipur.
The safari will have designated zones, which would be fenced, and large enclosures for tigers, lions and leopards that will be relocated from zoos, forest department officials had said earlier.