Chat Archives
Chat on "Role of Zoos in Conservation" dated July 17, 2011
  • Susan Sharma: Welcome to IWC chat on "Role of zoos in Conservation"
  • Susan Sharma: Hi Himanshu
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Hi Susan,
  • Susan Sharma: What according to you is the role of zoos in one sentence?
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Zoos are important for conservation and for education. They create awareness
  • Susan Sharma: animal rights groups will say zoos mean cruelty to animals
  • Susan Sharma: Hence many of them lobby for shutting down zoos
  • Himanshu Malhotra: The Zoos should be well kept and animals should be healthy
  • Himanshu Malhotra: For many children they are the first introduction to wild animals.
  • Susan Sharma: Recently two healthy male tigers were shifted to a zoo because they had attacked a human
  • Susan Sharma: In Nainital I hav eseen leopards packed in two storey cages-all suspected man eaters
  • Udayan Patil: Hi Susan..
  • Udayan Patil: Hi Himanshu
  • Udayan Patil: This is Udayan here
  • Susan Sharma: These are the things which agitate an adult mind.
  • Susan Sharma: welcome udayan
  • Udayan Patil: Thank you Susan
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Man has encroached on the territory of animals, thus the conflict inevitable
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Hi Udayan
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Toady considerable work has been done in Zoos on better enclosures, more naturalistic settings
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Many of the modern Zoos have become breeding centres for some of the most endangered species
  • Udayan Patil: Himanshu, do you really think..these breeding centres would someday be used as a source population ??
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Yes, it is been done for some species like the Pygmy Hogs, Red Panda etc
  • Udayan Patil: Coz with the way I see things...they are mainly source of entertainment, rather than any study..
  • Udayan Patil: I may be wrong, but I am yet to come across any researcher, whos studying a wild animal at any zoo here in India, with a purpose of rehabilitation
  • Susan Sharma: Where have pygmy hogs been reintroduced? Has the breeding program succeeded?
  • Himanshu Malhotra: This is not true vis a vie some of the new Zoos. There are specific guidelines for conservation breeding
  • Himanshu Malhotra: The breeding programme of the pygmy Hogs is a success and they have been reintroduced
  • Udayan Patil: ya somewhere in the north has been
  • Himanshu Malhotra: The Gharials are another example. In certain programmes there are centres rehabilitating bears into the wild
  • Udayan Patil: Himanshu...just for information, do you know of anyone who done work on bigger cats ??
  • Udayan Patil: lions or tigers at the India
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Yes Udayan many of these projects are running in the North East
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: i am sorry for being late..
  • Susan Sharma: welcome shoot you questions
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Earlier Billy Arjun Singh had tried with a tigress known as Tara but it went into controversy
  • Susan Sharma: welcome Amlan
  • Amlan Dutta: Thank you Susan
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Hi Amlan
  • Amlan Dutta: Hello Everybody
  • Udayan Patil: Ya I have read about that...also about asimilar attempt at Ranthambore..
  • Amlan Dutta: Sorry for being late...
  • Udayan Patil: Hi Amlan
  • Amlan Dutta: looks like the debate has already started...
  • Udayan Patil: :) not a debate...just asking for some information from himanshu
  • Himanshu Malhotra: I dont think so
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: the condition of animals and cages there are put in is very bad in mysore zoo.. what is the use of such zoos ?
  • Udayan Patil: Same is the case Nagpur..
  • Udayan Patil: we have about 7-8 leopards....caged in to zoo under suspected case of being rogue...
  • Himanshu Malhotra: The Zoos have to follow guidelines, and cruelty in any form is unacceptable.
  • Amlan Dutta: I am for Zoos, even if some of them are badly kept
  • Udayan Patil: ya so am I...coz that the first level of inspiration to kids
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: i could literally see the ribs of tigers, which is very pathetic, and the room size is so small that even a person could not reside in it..
  • Amlan Dutta: They provide a glimpse to public at large of the country's wildlife..
  • Himanshu Malhotra: The enclosures have to be naturalistic, with proper enrichment.
  • Amlan Dutta: There is the Central Zoo Authority which manages and issues guidelines on Zoos
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: they are not for our pleasure to cage them and see.. and if that the case, put them in better ones..
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Yes the CZA has set guidelines which its is implementing
  • Udayan Patil: Himanshu...cant there be a law enforced...which compels the zoo authorities to undertake habitat enrichment ??
  • Amlan Dutta: Rigtly said Krishna
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: we need them to be having bigger space to move..
  • Udayan Patil: excatly...they are just guideline....not law
  • Susan Sharma: The concept that each zoo must have specimens from all species needs to change.
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Yes, the enclosures have to have good enrichment for animals
  • Amlan Dutta: No there is law too , the Wildlife Protection Act '72 & Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
  • Udayan Patil: well unfortunately...most of the zoos dont comply to these guidelines
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: could any one of us imagine ourselves in such small cages, detached from outer worls..
  • Amlan Dutta: You are right Susan,,
  • Udayan Patil: so then instead in making more zoos, should we concentrate on making the existing ones beter ??
  • Amlan Dutta: the zoo management/director should the capacity / space he has and only then accept animals
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Today there are guidelines by the CZA as to what can be kept
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: even if there are laws, who checks if they are rightly followed, the fact is no ONE..
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: no one is bothered..\
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Yes we should work to make the existing Zoos better
  • Amlan Dutta: No no there are checks it is us civil society who check,, numerous NGOs
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: decrease the number of enclosures and animals and increase the space of existing ones is all i can say...
  • Amlan Dutta: lets take the example of the Delhi Zoo, its a refuge for animals rescued from traders by the forest dept.
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Lots of people today complain and proper interventions are done by CZA
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: or have specialized zoos for a species of animals so that we could accomidate them in a proper way..
  • Amlan Dutta: CZA is also not so equipped to look after all the zoos in the country, but its a learning process.
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: Guys, are there any one here working for any NGO, or ZOO?
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: i need to tell a fact,...
  • Amlan Dutta: Definitely Udayan,,, new zoos are not needed,, existing ones need to be managed better..
  • Udayan Patil: ya I am Srini
  • Udayan Patil: I head a NGO here in Nagpur
  • Amlan Dutta: I am from a corporate body,
  • Susan Sharma: Himanshu, Is there a plan for corporate adoption of animals?
  • Amlan Dutta: but with an NGO background
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Today there are specialised zoos which deal with the conservation breeding of specific species
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: I have been working for a NGO as Volunteer for 4 years, i do it out of my interest, but people working in NGO`s
  • Amlan Dutta: Adoption of animals is a good scheme, I saw it first in the Lucknow Zoo,
  • Udayan Patil: Ok Himanshu tell me something....
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: are so narrow minded that they just work for a living over in this NGO and donot mean anything for animals..
  • Udayan Patil: longago.I had seen it at Katraj Snake park in pune
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Each Zoo has its own system of adoption
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: In such case, which NGO checks for the laws ?
  • Udayan Patil: every sunday...they allowed small kids to interact with animals for a few hours..
  • Amlan Dutta: I am basically a wildlife biologist currently managing the environment mandate of a corporate entity in Orissa.
  • Udayan Patil: Kids were allowed to touch, feed, bath andclean smaller hare, tyrtles etc...
  • Udayan Patil: is that a wish thing to do ?
  • Amlan Dutta: Law is the last resort against a badly managed zoo,,,
  • Udayan Patil: *excuse my spelling....I am bad with typing
  • Udayan Patil: what I wanted to ask it a wise thing to undertake.
  • Amlan Dutta: The Zoo Directors are the ones who should be approached first when we see a badly managed situation,,
  • Amlan Dutta: if he doesnt listen then we right to his immediate superior in the Forest Dept of that Particular state
  • Udayan Patil: should that be encouraged in other zoos?
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: I can show you zoos, where people are such nuisance for animals and there are no staff to check all such inconvenience..
  • Himanshu Malhotra: The Zoo Authorities should be made responsible for a badly run Zoo
  • Amlan Dutta: Yes, Krishna, I really feel bad for the Hoolock Gibbons in Delhi Zoo,,
  • Amlan Dutta: there would be atleast one teaser at any time of the day
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: yes, i feel the same, the condition is the same in many or all the zoos..
  • Himanshu Malhotra: There is a need to create more awareness about being sensitive to animals.
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: zoo need to have people to avoid all these, as putting them in cage is bad, and on that they throw food and shout, which is such a pain to see..
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: i have seen people hitting crocodiles with stones to make it move..
  • Amlan Dutta: Till then Zoos are a important tool especially for nature education,, exposing the young minds to the wildlife wealth of India.
  • Himanshu Malhotra: There is a need to have more stringent action against animal teasers
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: A Amlan, what about Saki tiger being killed for its skin in 2004 in Hyderabad zoo, ?
  • Amlan Dutta: That was a sad case, I hope the perpetators have been punished since,,
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: there is no protection for them..
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: i am sorry to say this, but the predator paid his fine and is on bail, free for another kill probably..
  • Susan Sharma: Will zoos accept voluneers, say on holidays for crowd manangement?
  • Susan Sharma: I meant volunteers
  • Amlan Dutta: Off course,, it can thats the way to better management,
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: Yes they do..
  • Amlan Dutta: Which zoo director wont accept voluntars for better crowd management.
  • Himanshu Malhotra: We have to take very strong action against people committing wildlife crime
  • Amlan Dutta: Here in Bhubaneswar we have the Nandankanan Zoo,
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: i can show you people involved in wildlife trafficking in Hyderabad, doing their business openly..
  • Susan Sharma: Are they citizen volunteers selected by a process?
  • Amlan Dutta: every zoo sees massive footfalls on Sundays especially
  • Amlan Dutta: NGO/ Civil Bodies can write to Zoo Director proposing such a volunteer programme
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Every Zoo can have a force of volunteers
  • Amlan Dutta: A wonderful idea, at the end of the day volunteers would feel good that they have done something worthwhile
  • Susan Sharma: Who approves tis force?
  • Amlan Dutta: and the zoo management would also be grateful for help in managing the crowd.
  • Amlan Dutta: The Zoo Director should be able to approve this programme..
  • Amlan Dutta: He might forward this to the CWLW / PCCF (WL) of the state for approval
  • Himanshu Malhotra: Every Zoo Director can make this decision to have a positive volunteer force which will help the Zoo
  • Amlan Dutta: But He/She (Zoo Director) if a dynamic person , should be able to approve it in his official capacity
  • Amlan Dutta: A copy of the proposal can be sent to the CZA too
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: I want to work for any NGO, full time, any opporunity available ?
  • Amlan Dutta: The Volunteer Programme can at some stage have other activities like training the handlers, feeders, cage cleaners on proper handling
  • Susan Sharma: Yes, Amlan
  • Amlan Dutta: There is a serious shortage of Wildlife vets in the country too,,,
  • Amlan Dutta: This is one area where zoos constantly need help..
  • Amlan Dutta: Wildlife Trust of India where I used to work before as a country wide network of Wildlife Vets..
  • Susan Sharma: Will the zoos be willing to pay a stipend to trained volunteers? and volunteer docs ?
  • Amlan Dutta: The Volunteer program can tie up with such programme(s) to assist the Zoo Director in providing medical help to ailing animals
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: I don`t think they would do that..
  • Amlan Dutta: No Susan, I dont think they would be willing to provide a stipend.
  • Susan Sharma: Himanshu, what do you think?
  • Amlan Dutta: They have limited funds with which they manage the show
  • Amlan Dutta: Atleast not right in the beginning,,
  • Amlan Dutta: once the volunteer program is running successfuly ,,
  • Amlan Dutta: one can propose to the zoo management on providing free food to the volunteers, stipend etc.. but not a good idea to ask in the very beginning.
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: I have an idea, may an amateur one.. do i discuss..
  • Amlan Dutta: Sure Krishna
  • Susan Sharma: yes pl.
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: I don`t know, how many agree with my plan..
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: I was thinking if there is an organization, where we can train existing members, or workers in zoo`s, and also train volunteers, and
  • Amlan Dutta: Go on,,
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: provide them to the zoo who require work force during peak days..?
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: in this wa, we can check on all the things and also train them for a better purpose..
  • Amlan Dutta: There is Zoo outreach in Coimbatore,,
  • Amlan Dutta: Which is a very good organization,,
  • Amlan Dutta: atleast in South India.
  • Amlan Dutta: They bring out a newsletter too,,
  • Amlan Dutta: Its run by Sally Walker
  • Amlan Dutta:
  • Susan Sharma: Himanshu is offline due to net problem.
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: Ya i have just seen it.. but condition of zoos in N India are worse..
  • Amlan Dutta: True,, but that gap can be filled in by some organization in North India..
  • Amlan Dutta: We have the expertise to manage zoos,
  • Amlan Dutta: Dont need to depend on State Forest Depts
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: hmmm that`s right..
  • Amlan Dutta: All we need is to identify specifics and bring in the expertise to solve problems on a case to case basis
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: yes sir.!
  • Susan Sharma: So, friends we had a stimulating chat. shall we close the chat room?
  • Amlan Dutta: End of the day Zoos are a good thing,,
  • Susan Sharma: Good thought Amlan
  • Amlan Dutta: Yes Susan..
  • Udayan Patil: Well good night Susan
  • Amlan Dutta: I always miss IWC chats,,
  • Udayan Patil: Good night Amlan and Srinivasa
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: Good if maintain them and follow all the required rules..
  • Amlan Dutta: had put a treminder this time not to miss it..
  • Udayan Patil: can I reach you on email ??
  • Amlan Dutta: Good Night everyone,, pleasure being a part of the discussion
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: Susan,Amlan can i have your mail id ?
  • Susan Sharma: As soon as I close, the transcript will be online. My email id is
  • Amlan Dutta: sure its
  • Udayan Patil: great..!! thank you..
  • B Srinivasa Phani Krishna: Thank You..!!
  • Susan Sharma: The chat is fixed on third Sundys at 7.30 PM.
  • Amlan Dutta: yup
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