The government has given its nod to establish an international-standard zoo at Suryabinayak in Bhaktapur to keep captive animals brought from various parts of the country and beyond.
A Cabinet meeting on Thursday approved the proposal, including the feasibility study to set up an alternate zoo, submitted by the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation about five years ago. Concerned over the lack of adequate space and problem in proper management of the increasing number of captive animals in the country’s only Central Zoo at Jawalakhel in Lalitpur, authorities were working to come up with an alternative site for an international-standard zoological garden and recreational centre for captive animals for years.
During the meeting, the Cabinet directed the Forest Ministry to move ahead with the process of setting up the new zoo that covers an area of around 245 hectares in Gundu, Sipadol and Katunje. The proposed site is spread over seven community forests and the forest users have agreed to provide their respective areas for the zoo under certain conditions.
According to Krishna Acharya, spokesperson at the ministry, the Cabinet has authorised them to move ahead with the plan.
The Jawalakhel-based zoo was set up in 1932 by Juddha Shumsher Rana for his private leisure. It came under the government in 1951 and was opened to the public in 1956. Currently, the zoo covers an area of six hectares and houses 35 species of mammals, 420 birds of 53 species, 33 reptiles of 11 species and 320 aquarium fishes of 17 species. Over 1.5 million people, including domestic and foreign tourists, visit the zoo annually.