After a wait of two years, the Nature Interpretation Centre at Nandankanan Zoological Park was finally inaugurated on Saturday.
Forest and Environment Minister Bijoyshree Routray inaugurated the centre which has been designed in collaboration with Ahmedabad-based Centre for Environmental Education (CEE).
Built on 3,000 sq ft on the zoo premises, the centre has been established at an estimated cost of Rs 81.25 lakh. It comprises two interpretation halls, complete with projection systems, display boards, photo-text panels and models. It also has a mini auditorium with a seating capacity of 30.
The interpretation halls have been designed with technical support from CEE. The centre aims at reorienting the visitors about the significance of wildlife conservation in India, Zoo Director Sudarshan Panda said. Themes on wildlife in India and their distribution in Odisha have been captured to sensitise the tourists and visitors, he added.
The auditorium will screen films on behind the scene activities in the Zoo. “Activities such as rescue, rehabilitation as well as treatment, which the visitors are not privy to, will be shown to the visitors through short films,” Panda added.
To mark the occasion, the newly built building of the Zoo Hospital was also inaugurated by the Minister. It has been established at a cost of Rs 29.14 lakh.
Interestingly, the work of the Interpretation Centre was completed way back in 2011 but could not be inaugurated since the zoo management wanted Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to unveil it which did not materialise.
Later, its opening was shelved at least twice in view of announcement of the urban local body polls and imposition of the model code of conduct. Only after the Zoo authorities sought a clearance from the State Election Commission on the grounds that the Zoo has panchayats in its neighbourhood which do not come under the poll code coverage, the inauguration was facilitated.