Coimbatore: VOC zoo to fade into memory as officials refuse to renew license

Established in 1965, the zoo is run by the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC) and is the only one in South India which is run by a local body.

Published: 22nd November 2022 06:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd November 2022 06:10 PM   |  A+A-


The VOC zoological park in Coimbatore. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

COIMBATORE: The VOC zoological park, situated in the heart of the city, will soon be closed permanently and animals shifted to other facilities across the State as the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has refused to renew its licence for not fulfilling norms.

The zoo has remained closed to the public since January as the licence had expired.

Established in 1965, the zoo is run by the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC) and is the only one in South India which is run by a local body.

It is spread across 4.13 acres of land and houses 532 animals, including 334 birds, 46 reptiles and 152 mammals. The CCMC spends around `3.15 lakh every month on food for the animals.

Explaining the reasons for the non-renewal of licence, CCMC commissioner M Prathap said, “The CZA has prescribed several norms to run a zoo. This includes creating a buffer zone of five acres. While we address hygiene, infrastructure, and other criteria, we are unable to create a buffer zone. As of now, we are just maintaining the status quo and haven’t gone for an appeal.”

An official source, however, told TNIE that CCMC is no longer keen to run the zoo or establish a new one as it does not have experts or funds.

“Over `115 crore will be required to establish a new zoo near the proposed Semmozhi Poonga. A suggestion was made to the government to integrate the Semmozhi Poonga with the zoo, but it was rejected. Officials said they don’t want to add any extras to the ‘CM’s pet project’,” sources said.

News of the zoo’s imminent closure has left many people in shock.

M Siva Balan, a resident of Ramakrishnapuram, said, “The zoo is an identity of the city, and its closure will make all of us sad, So many people have countless memories of the place. The State government must prevent its closure.”

R Raveendran, secretary of the Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore (RAAC) told TNIE, “Not just the kids, even adults adore the place. The toy train ride around the deer park is an unforgettable experience for me. The civic body should use the land near the Semmozhi Poonga to establish a new zoo. There were no plans or designs for a new zoo on the initial plans that were shown to us by officials.”

He also suggested that the civic body can open a new zoo through a joint venture with private players and also take inputs from the renowned zoo outreach experts in Coimbatore. He said the RAAC would take up the matter to the collector’s attention.


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