Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Construction of breeding dens picks up in Lion Safari

Construction of breeding dens picks up in Lion Safari
The Times of India

The construction of the special breeding dens is picking up in the Lion Safari at Fisher Reserve Forest area on the outskirts of Etawah district and the place may soon reverberate with roars of Asiatic lions.

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) had approved the designs of the special breeding dens on January 18 to be built at the breeding centre and deliberated on February 5 on the master plan for breeding centre-cum-lion safari.

Lion Safari director Gurmeet Singh, under whose supervision, the project is underway, said that the work on four special breeding dens and a veterinary hospital, housing colony for safari staff, besides two over-head water tanks is heading towards completion.

In the special breeding dens, lions from other areas would be brought and kept for breeding, said Singh.

The construction work as at the breeding centre is likely to be completed by December. Two pairs of lion presently kept at Lucknow and Kanpur zoos will arrive here by January next year. "Our plan is to introduce nearly 8 to 12 lions, when the safari starts. For this, we have already asked Sakarbaug Zoo authorities in Junagadh for 10 more lions, but four will be sent in the first phase. At present, we are in the process of getting four lions, two males and two females from there. These may be airlifted," a senior official said.

There would be around 12 special breeding dens at the safari with minimum human interference and the royal beasts would get a secluded ambience. The especially designed breeding dens would keep the mortality rate under check.

With this project, Etawah will be one of the most sought-after tourist spots in the state, added district magistrate P Guru Prasad.

The project was mooted by the Samajwadi Party government in 2005. Some 150 hectares of land in Fisher Reserve Forest on Etawah-Gwalior national highway was acquired and notified as Lion Safari, the same year.

However, it was shelved by Mayawati government in 2007. It was again revived after SP came back to power in March 2012. The Union ministry of environment and forest approved the master layout plan of the project in December 2012. The lion breeding centre in Etawah would be the third in the country after Junagadh and Rajkot.

The state government had sanctioned Rs 89 crores for the lion safari project. The government had made UP Awas Vikas Parishad as the construction and executing agency for the lion safari.

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