BENGALURU: A wildlife activist and a conservationist have approached the High Court challenging the government’s plans to shifting of Atal Bihar Vajpayee Zoological Park in Ballari to the Bilikallu Reserve Forest in Kamalapura, next to Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary near Hampi.
Activist Santosh Martin, Ballari and wildlife conservationist Rajesh M Kurpad from Bengaluru have claimed that the government has continued with the construction of the zoo despite a 2015 High Court order directing it to pass a fresh order in accordance with law. That order was issued in response to a petition filed by the petitioners against a government order in 2010 to shift the zoo to the proposed place, within 10 kms from the Daroji Bear Sanctuary.
They said the state government issued the same order in August 2015 to shift the zoo even after the Ministry of Environment and Forest Department issued an order that its clearance is required for relocation of the zoo. The authorities are shifting animals to the new zoo from September 2017 itself, without obtaining the clearance, the petitioners said. They added that the proposed zoo will not only drastically reduce reserve forest cover but also hamper movement of animals in their regular paths.
They contended that the proposed zoo defeats the idea of notifying the sanctuary for protection of the sloth bears, and will negate the years of hard work and conservation which will be lost forever. The proposed zoo cum safari will increase the conflicts between the bears and humans as bears are sensitive creatures which get disturbed with increased human activity and can get violent, they said. The High Court issued notice to the State Government, Central Zoo Authority, Ministry of Environment and Forests and others on Monday.