The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will sign an MoU with the state government today (June 5) to take over 120 acres of land at Goregaon’s Aarey Colony for the Byculla zoo expansion.
The proposed expansion is expected to cost around ₹500 crore ($73 million) and will feature night safari, a conservation and protection centre for rare animals, and a natural education centre.
“The suburbs have a large population and they need a tourist spot. Besides entertainment, the zoo will provide scientific information about plant and animal species to visitors,” BMC said.
The Byculla zoo expansion plans have been in the works for years, and were revived when Praveen Pardeshi took charge as the BMC Commissioner.
Night safari and education at Byculla
Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, and Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar will attend the signing ceremony.
“In August 2014, the BMC had sent a draft of the MoU to the government,” a BMC official added. “The land will be with the the BMC for 99 years for ₹1 annual lease rent. Once the MoU has been signed, the zoo will be developed in about five years. It will cost around ₹500 crore.
“A consultant will be appointed for preparing the detailed project report. The revenues earned will be shared between the BMC and State on 80:20 ratio.”
Zoo expansion and conservation
Elsewhere, Barcelona Zoo is investing €64.6 million in a project, which will turn the attraction into the first ‘animalist’ zoo in Europe, putting animal welfare, conservation, research and education first.
Blooloop recently spoke to Dr Sharon Redrobe, OBE, CEO of Twycross Zoo, who has a fascination with wildlife and a belief in the role modern zoos must play in conservation.
Image: Byculla zoo