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Zoos Getting a Makeover

Indian zoos are getting a makeover and would soon develop enclosures similar to the natural habitats of captive animals by improvising designs of enclosures, adding green covers and removing unnecessary barriers between animals and visitors.

Published: 17th April 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th April 2014 11:59 PM   |  A+A-

Indian zoos are getting a makeover and would soon develop enclosures similar to the natural habitats of captive animals by improvising designs of enclosures, adding green covers and removing unnecessary barriers between animals and visitors.

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA), a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, wants zoos in the country to come up with immersion exhibits, where animal is shown in an exhibit that resembles its natural habitat. It would also offer visitors the feel of visiting a wildlife sanctuary as they are placed in a similar landscape, reasonably sheltered from other artefact.

As per the plan, the barrier that separates the visitor from the animal would be camouflaged so that it does not create any visual obstruction while keeping the visitor and animal safe from each other. As of now, animals are kept in enclosures away from their natural habitats. This also takes toll on their health, behaviour and mating.     

“The new improved enclosures would resemble natural habitats of animals. The idea is also to provide an experience to visitors where they would feel they are part of natural habitat of animals like they are in jungle,” said CZA member secretary B S Bonal.

The CZA plans to enhance the experience with sound effects such as sound of flowing water and drizzling. Depending upon the species housed, the barriers could be constructed using moats/sunken walls, water channels and hedges. The enrichment could be in the form of more trees, caves, water pools, perches, nests and vegetation.

“In other words, such an exhibit intends to show the animals in the context of nature rather than in the context of architecture. Hence, while the architecture is subdued, importance is given to the habitat, in which the visitor is also immersed,” he said. Zoos across the world have been following the model of immersion exhibits and the CZA has also ensured incorporation of immersion exhibits in new master plans of zoos as part of their future development.   

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