The state government is looking to the Reliance-managed Greens Zoological, Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (GZRRC), Jamnagar, by transporting extra tigers and leopards in captivity to Gujarat, rather than taking any concrete measures to reduce man-animal conflict in the area.
Sources claim that the state approved the relocation of four tigers and four leopards from the city’s Gorewada Rescue Center to Reliance Industries Limited’s zoological park on January 3, 2023.
On November 11, 2022, the GZRRC began looking for tigers and leopards for their zoo. The Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) had, however, put the Reliance proposal on hold ostensibly in order to add tigers to the safari, giving preference to the exchange of tigers and leopards with other zoos, and obtain new species for the Balasaheb Thackeray Gorewada Zoological Park.
According to the sources, the state PCCF (wildlife) Maheep Gupta wrote to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) on January 12, 2023, requesting permission to move these tigers and leopards, despite the fact that CZA clearance was needed for the transfer.
Gorewada has 27 leopards and 21 tigers. On Wednesday, a pair of tigers were sent to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) Rescue Center in Borivili. Two tigers and two leopards are also stranded at the Transit Treatment Centre (TTC), Chandrapur, in addition to the animals in Gorewada.
Getting CZA approval would only be a formality because the state’s political leadership is already contemplating Reliance’s proposal to relocate eight big cats to Jamnagar. However, the action has raised concerns among those who protect wildlife.
As per the wildlife conservationist, the government is sending animals to the Reliance Zoo rather than taking into consideration the request to increase Gorewada Rescue Centre’s capacity for an extra 10 cages for tigers and leopards through CAMPA money
Despite the CZA’s approval, the state government is still considering a plan to build a tiger safari and rescue center on 210 acres near Chandrapur.
“The project can help curb the raging man-animal conflict in Chandrapur,” experts said.
While moving tigers and leopards to the Reliance Zoo is no problem for the forest department, the city’s Maharajbagh Zoo is not being taken into consideration because it is run by Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV).