November 2, 2013 4:42:54 am
The rescued leopards at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Borivali will soon get new,more spacious homes. Work on the new centre for the leopards would be completed by the end of December and it was expected to be functional by January,said Sunil Limaye,former chief conservator of forests (CCF) and director,SGNP. The centre will be spread over one acre and will come up in the Mafco factory area of the national park.
The Public Works Department is carrying out the construction and at present,electrification work is on, said Limaye. The 22 cages will be in a single building and the leopards will have access to a larger exercise area when they are let out of the cages.
At present,18 cages are housed in two buildings,with an area of 100 sq ft per animal. As per norms,at least 125 sq ft area should be available for each animal. At the new centre,each animal will get around 175 sq ft area,Limaye added.
There are 22 leopards that have been rescued and are being raised in enclosures at the present rescue centre. The leopards were abandoned at birth. Cubs learn to hunt from their mothers and if they dont learn it,they will not be able to survive in the wild. Thats why they are kept in cages and are cared for, said Limaye. Wildlife activists are happy that the centre is coming up after many delays. The new centre was the need of the hour. The previous cages and the roaming area for the leopards were small. Animals develop captive stress when they are kept in small cages. The spacious centre will definitely make things better for the leopards, said Krishna Tiwari,founder of City Forest Initiative.
Meanwhile,the process of approval of the plan for development of the existing mini-zoo into a medium one is on. SGNP will have to make final presentations for the plan to get final approval from the Central Zoo Authority. The process may take at least six months more, said Limaye.
Work on the new centre for the leopards will be completed by the end of December and it is expected to be functional by January
As per norms,at least 125 sq ft area should be available for each animal. At the new centre,each animal will get around 175 sq ft area
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