Tara and Jerry,major attractions for the young and the old alike in Pimpri-Chinchwad,are preparing to leave this industrial town,but with a promise to return home soon. The two leopards are being shifted from the PCMC-run Bahinabai Chaudhary Zoo on the directives of Central Zoo Authority
The CZAI authorities had objected to the too small space provided for the duo and said as per new Central norms the leopards needed bigger and wider space. The zoo chief,Anilkumar Khaire,said the PCMC-run zoo is spread over seven acres,but CZAI officials said leopards need to be located on at least 50 acres. CZAI officials said the PCMC zoo is supposed to have only birds and reptiles and no mammals.
Though CZAI officials have apparently suggested that the leopards be shifted to the zoo in Junnar,PCMC officials are likely to shift them to Katraj Zoo. We are planning to shift them to the PMC-run Katraj zoo, said Khaire. Tara and Jerry who are 12 years old will soon be shifted,but we havent decided the date as yet, he said.
The civic officials are actively considering setting up a leopard home. The idea behind shifting the leopards to Katraj is to ensure that animals can be easily brought back if and when a leopard home is set up. Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi on Wednesday said the civic body is already planning to set up a deer park in Talawade area. We are looking at the possibility of setting up a leopard home in the deer park if the norms permit. We will soon prepare a proposal to the effect, he said.
Khaire said,Were awaiting a nod for the 50 acre land. Once the land is approved,well seek establishment of a leopard home and once that is set up,we can increase leopard count.
When contacted,Principal Secretary (Forest) Pravinsinh Pardeshi said the state government would extend all possible help to PCMC for setting up a deer park where it plans to house leopards. However,PCMC will have to first approach the CZAI and then get approval from Supreme Court. The procedure is lengthy. But if the PCMC is keen,the state government will extend all possible help and cooperation, he said.
Meanwhile,citizens have slammed PCMC for not making adequate arrangements to keep even two leopards. It is surprising that PCMC never bothered to make arrangements for even housing two leopards. Anybody who goes to the zoo first rushes to see the leopards such is their popularity, lamented animal rights activist Sanjeevani Pandey.
Former corporator Sopan Londe said PCMC should set up the leopard home as early as possible.