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Greater Kashmir

Kashmir to get its first zoo at tourist resort Pahalgam

Hangul among other species will be moved to the facility

Muddasir Ali
Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 8 2018 2:15AM
Kashmir to get its first zoo at tourist resort PahalgamFile Photo

After a long delay, J&K government has cleared a proposal to set up first zoo in the Kashmir Valley at famed hill resort of Pahalgam.

After receiving nod from central zoo authority of India and the state wildlife protection board headed by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, the J&K wildlife department has written to state forest department for acquiring 31 hectares of forest land.  

Proposed over an area of around 40 hectares, the Rs 100 crore zoo would be set up in Aru wildlife sanctuary in Pahalagm and would include the existing “mini-zoo”, said regional wildlife warden Rashid Naqash. The funding for the project has been allocated under CAMPA.

“Once the formalities are completed we will hire a consultancy for preparing master plan for execution of the zoo,” said Naqash.

An official said the idea to establish the zoo was being explored for past many years. The government had initially proposed to set up the facility in the outskirts of summer capital Srinagar, somewhere around Dachigam National Park. But the central zoo authority of India didn’t find the location feasible, also due to inadequate area available.

“We are waiting for issuance of SRO by the government to start the work,” said an official, adding all international standards would be taken into consideration while setting up the infrastructure.

A list of wild animals and avian species has been prepared by the department for exhibition at the zoo. Among them is Kashmiri Stag locally known as Hangul, a rare animal found in Dachigam National Park.

The selection of the wildlife will be made from the species already existing in Kashmir’s geographical area, said the official. He said the zoo would have all facilities for visitors including information center, parking facilities and cafeterias. The government is also establishing a separate zoo in Nagrota belt of Jammu region at a cost of Rs 100 crore.