MYSURU: Highlighting India’s stellar record in the conservation of endangered species of animals, member-secretary of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), New Delhi Anup Kumar Nayak on Monday said, “India has been trying its best in the conservation of 73 endangered species and has been successful in conserving mouse-deer.”
Anup, who inaugurated the three-day national-level workshop for veterinarians at Indian zoos, pointed to the difficulties involved in conserving species classified as endangered and critically endangered. “These are lengthy processes. Many different zoos and rehabilitation centers across India are involved in this initiative. The objective is to breed animals in these categories in captivity, and releasing them into the wild since their population is declining at a rapid rate,” said Nayak.
Adducing the success that the Nandankanan Zoo in Odisha and Hyderabad Zoo had tasted in the conservation of gharial and mouse-deer respectively, Nayak said, “Unfortunately, gharial could not survive in the wild, but mouse-deer did.”
In Karnataka, as many as six species including Indian Gaur, deer, wild dog, wolves, and lion-tailed macaque are being conserved and being bred at the off-display center. “CZA is yet to decide on when to release them into the wild,” Nayak added.
Meanwhile, the endangered chinkara is being bred at the Sakkabaug Zoo in Gujarat, while efforts to increase the population of snow leopard at Darjeeling Zoo and Golden Langur at Agartala Zoo.
‘Veterinarians determine status of zoos’
Meanwhile, highlighting the role of veterinarians to zoos, Nayak said that the prestige of a zoo was contingent on the quality of its veterinarians. “As long as veterinarians take good care of the animals, the status of the zoo will never diminish. The role of the veterinarians in zoos is crucial since they have to ensure that animals exhibited are hale and hearty,” he said.
Pointing to CZA’s exemplary record in supervising zoos in the country, he added, “If zoological institutions are found not to be meeting the prescribed standards, licenses are terminated immediately. Recently, we suspended many such permits and some were renewed with added stipulations.”
Vice-chancellor of the Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries University HD Narayana Swamy said that challenges confronting veterinarians in maintaining the health of animals had increased significantly in recent times following outbreaks of viruses. “Recently, there was an outbreak of the Distemper Virus that claimed the lives of lions at Gir Forest in Gujarat. Other diseases such as bird flu and Nipah virus too are equally challenging,” he said.
Member secretary of the Zoo Authority of Karnataka BP Ravi, meanwhile, sought to focus on the increasing incidence of human-animal conflict. “This is largely a consequence of shrinking forest cover. Forest land is being chipped away at for other activities including mining,” said Ravi.
The executive director of Mysuru Zoo Ajith Kulkarni was among those present.
‘Wild’ topics on the anvil today
*Chemical immobilization of large herbivores: giraffe, zebra, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and elephants
*Advancements in captive wild canine and feline anesthesia
*Canine distemper in big cats
*Bird flu in Indian zoos and counteracting strategies
*Visual and physical evaluation of wild animals: A primary tool to diagnose diseases