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 Delhi’s Central Zoo Authority (CZA) is arriving in Mumbai to inspect the site on Wednesday. The Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) officials will present the contour survey report of the Aarey site to the team as well as the draft layout plan of the zoo.
“Although it is not required at this stage, we have prepared a draft layout plan for the Goregaon zoo to better explain our plan to the CZA officials. Further approvals for the zoo and the sanction for CZA will depend on this site inspection. The team will visit and give us the guidelines,” said Vikas Gupta, chief conservator of forests, SGNP.
The visiting team comprises P C Tyagi from the Wildlife Institute of India, and wildlife curator Dr A K Malhotra.
Meanwhile, the CZA team will also look at SGNP’s plan to upgrade their mini zoo into a ‘medium’ one. Currently, the mini zoo inside SGNP has nine tigers, three lions and an enclosure with around 40 deers.The forest department plans to upgrade the zoo and have 30 more species, the requirement for a medium-level zoo, added Gupta.
Proposed by the forest department a few years ago, the zoo upgradation plan was to increase its size, bring in more species and allow visitors to see the animals up-close. The expanded zoo will be close to the existing lion and tiger safari area and include an enclosure for herbivores and an aviary.
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 proposed Goregaon zoo will have animal safaris and jungle trails, which will resemble real-life habitats of wild animals.
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 civic body will jointly develop the Goregaon zoo. The state government had acquired a 190-acre land from the Dairy Development Department last year, said officials.