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CCTVs,barbed wire,revised roster in jumbo security rejig at city zoo

A day after Laxmi the elephant killed a trespasser in her enclosure at the Byculla zoo,the BMC announced it would install CCTV cameras in the enclosures...

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
March 30, 2010 11:16:57 pm

A day after Laxmi the elephant killed a trespasser in her enclosure at the Byculla zoo,the BMC announced it would install CCTV cameras in the enclosures,fence the boundary walls in barbed wire,repair the enclosure walls,rework the weekly off system for guards,and press for the shifting of slumdwellers from outside the zoo.

“There are slums outside the zoo and trespassers get in by jumping walls or fences. We are going to press for the shifting of these slumdwellers and also repair the wall immediately,” said Chandrashekar Rokde,deputy municipal commissioner,on Monday.

He said 32 CCTVs will monitor visitors and anyone teasing the animals would be dealt with strictly,he said. “Vigilance will be tightened around the enclosures of animals that are most prone to get harassed by people,” he said.

The 45-acre zoo currently has 36 guards,but an average five of them have their weekly off on any day of the week. Rokde said the system would change from April 1: “We will ask all guards to take their weekly off on Wednesday,when the zoo is closed. Barbed wires will be raised at the boundary walls of the elephant enclosure and the wall will be repaired and strengthened. Dos and don’ts (for visitors) will be displayed,” Rokde said.

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Dr Sanjay Tripathi,zoo vet,said,“The BMC has circulated a note to the additional commissioners and the commissioner. Arrangements should be in place soon. A control room will monitor the CCTV screens.”

At the enclosure,elderly elephants Laxmi and Anarkali remain chained in their fodder chamber. Veterinary doctors and mahouts assert the animals are not aggressive by nature.

“Laxmi is a bit temperamental but had never shown aggressive behaviour or hurt anyone in the past. However,it has to be understood that elephants don’t like unfamiliar company,and can get violent if provoked. In fact,even while treating them,we doctors don’t enter their chamber in the mahouts’ absence,” said Komal Pawar,zoo wildlife vet.

About the Central Zoo Authority’s notification to relocate zoo elephants to sanctuaries,principal chief conservator of forest A K Joshi said,“We have been studying the relocation of these animals for a few months,but are facing a lot of hurdles considering their age and the fact that there is no animal sanctuary within the state. The discussion is still on.”

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