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Government to form new authority to manage zoos

Maharashtra government today decided to form an authority to streamline management of zoos in the state and effectively coordinate with the Central Zoo Authority.

The state Cabinet which held a meeting in Nagpur decided all zoos, safaris, rescue and nature interpretation centres and even non-forest-department supervision will be controlled by the new authority, state Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said.

The move will help better the condition of zoos and speed up the process of obtaining permissions from the Central Zoo Authority for procurement of animals, he said.

The board of directors for the authority will be headed by the forest minister. The rules framed by the body will be implemented by a committee headed by chief conservator of forests (wildlife), Mungantiwar said, adding the authority will be headquartered in Nagpur.

Wildlife management and conservation is a sensitive matter. Man, animal conflict is growing and need of the hour is to ensure welfare of animals in zoos, the Forest Minister said.

Mungantiwar had announced to set up such an authority in his first Budget proposals in March this year. With this decision, Maharashtra will be the fifth state in the country after Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal to have such an authority.

There are three zoos managed by the forest department and one by other agencies in Maharashtra.

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