The government has granted permission to shift Jawalakhel-based Central Zoo to Suryabinayak in Bhaktapur.
The Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation had planned to relocate the zoo to Bhaktapur five year back for providing more space to the bigger animals and endangered fauna.
Krishna Acharya, spokesperson for the MoFSC, said the Cabinet had directed the ministry to start landscaping for the zoological garden, recreational centres, animal care centres and animal habitats.
He said the new zoo, spread over an area of around 245 hectares covering seven community forests located in Gundu, Sipadol and Katunje, would meet international standards and would be equipped with animal-friendly modern facilities. Bigger animals will be ferried from Jawalakhel to Bhaktapur after necessary infrastructure is developed at the new location, he added.
The zoo will become operational after reaching mutual agreement with the respective forest user groups.
The National Trust for Nature Conservation, which manages the Central Zoo, is conducting feasibility studies of areas where bigger animals can be shifted for safety, hygiene and habitation. MoFSC will be helping NTNC in setting up the new zoo for the captive and rescued animals.
Ganesh Koirala, assistant curator at the zoo, said, “The concrete and iron bar enclosures are too small for housing large animals like tigers, rhinos, bears, leopards, elephants, crocodiles, hippopotamus, donkeys, zebras, deer and water buffaloes. The Central Zoo is spread over only six hectares with mammals, avians, reptiles, amphibians and aquatic species cohabiting within a limited space.”
More mammals, such as kangaroos, zebras, lions and sloth bears not found in Nepal, will be added to the zoo once it becomes operational, added Koirala.
“Larger animals feel comfortable in bigger enclosures for breeding, habitation and grazing,” he said, adding that the community forest is more animal-friendly and eco-friendly with clean air and water.
Earlier, Rs 10 million were allocated for alternative location to house new zoo where large and endangered wild animals and birds can be shifted. “But political uncertainty had halted the process to find an alternative location,” Koirala said, adding, “The Central Zoo has not been able to bring in new animal species, rescued wild animals or endangered animals and birds due to lack of space and sturdy enclosures.”