West Bengal to get world's first mangrove zoo

Kolkata, Sep 18 : The world's first mangrove zoo, a specialised facility housing the fauna of the Sunderbans, is to open in West Bengal soon, an official said Wednesday.

Dubbed a satellite facility of Kolkata's Alipore Zoological Gardens, the unique zoo will be located across 100 acres of lush greenery in Jharkhali in South 24-Parganas district.

Jharkhali is one of the several entry points to the Sunderbans - the world's largest mangrove forest and home to the endangered Royal Bengal tiger.

"The facility will be located in Jharkhali and will be the first zoo in the world to hold mangrove fauna," B.R. Sharma, member-secretary of the West Bengal Zoo Authority, told IANS.

It will also house animals like the Royal Bengal tiger, spotted deer, wild boar, crocodiles and otters, among others, and will serve as a conservation, breeding and rehabilitation centre for animals found in the mangrove ecosystem.

The hub will mimic the mangrove ecosystem to ensure compatibility with the animals.

"Work will start soon on the project. At this point we can't give a specific date. All the resources, including involvement of experts for the zoo will be through the West Bengal Zoo authority," said Sharma, who conceptualised the project.

Necessary permits from the Central Zoo Authority have been obtained and the state government has already issued an order to transfer 100-acres of land, according to Sharma.

--IANS (Posted on 18-09-2013)

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