Altaf for tapping state’s vast Wildlife tourism potential

JAMMU:  Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment Mian Altaf Ahmad, accompanied by officers of forest department, today visited proposed site for establishment of a Zoo here at Khanpur Nagrota and took stock of the ground work being done to take up the execution of the project.

Chief Wildlife Warden, Mr. A.K.Singh, Conservator Forests, Wild Life, Mr. Asif Sagar, besides other senior officers of the department accompanied the Minister.

Calling for judicious utilization of funds received by the department under various schemes, Mian Altaf said that forest and wildlife conservation need focused attention. He said the forest protection will ensure safety of environment while the wildlife conservation will boost the tourism sector and help the Government in generating jobs for the locals, he added 

The Minister said that last year over one crore tourists visited Mata Vishno Devi shrine at Katra alone and underlined the need to offer them other   attractions including wildlife tourism. He said state has vast potential of wildlife tourism, adding that there was a need to make the visiting tourists about it.

Mian Altaf said that the upcoming Zoo in Jammu will be unique in many ways having facilities like Children Park, Wild Safari, Aquarium and invertebrate conservation centres. He asked officers to put in extra efforts to make the project a reality as soon as possible. 

Describing wildlife tourism a job potential sphere in tourism sector, the Minister asked concerned authorities to launch a awareness campaign about the wildlife destinations available in the State. He said the income so generated would be spent on promotion and growth of wildlife related infrastructure in the State.      

“To protect endangered species we must protect forests the home of plants and animals, said the Minister”, adding that need of the hour was to launch a massive forestation drive across the State in order to maintain a balanced ecosystem.  

The Minister asked the officers to take up development of basic infrastructure for the project under CAMPA till the formal approval was received from the Centre. 

Earlier, while giving details of the project, Conservator Wildlife, Mr Asif said that the Zoo would be developed over an area of 200 hectors of land. He said  the biggest advantage of site selected  for the project was that it will not disturb the human habitation. He said the control survey of the project’s master plan was at final stage and would be completed and forwarded to the Centre Zoo Authority of India for approval shortly.  He said animals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates will be housed in the proposed zoo. 

He   reptiles including snakes, garyal and muggers, besides   aviarian like  pea fowl, white pea fowl, kalij pheasant, red jungle fowl, cranes, chir pheasant and vultures would also be housed in the Zoo. He said in exotic section, hippopotamus, zebra, giraffe, chimpanzee and orangutan   will be part of the Zoo attraction apart from primates, herbivores, carnivores and omnivores species. 

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