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Zoos should focus on local birds, animals for conservation: Environment Minister

New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) Highlighting the importance of conservation awareness and its value in conflict mitigation strategies, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Monday suggested an inclusive approach as the way forward for zoos.

Zoos across India should focus on local birds and animals as priority species for conservation. There should be an inclusive way forward for zoos and Nagar Vans by incorporating suggestions from zoo officials and using them to prepare short and long-term action plans," Yadav said.

He was addressing the valedictory event of the two-day national conference for zoo directors and veterinarians organised by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and hosted by the Sardar Patel Zoological Park, Kevadia, Gujarat.

The primary aim of the national conference was to discuss and deliberate on the new frontiers in zoo management and ex-situ conservation in the country. There are more than 150 recognised zoos and rescue centres in the country that adhere to the guidelines and high standards of wild animal welfare, a release from the ministry said.

Assuring that zoos will be an important subject for discussion during the state forest ministers' dialogues henceforth, the Environment Minister encouraged zoos to become financially independent and consider CSR and public private partnerships and focus on local birds and animals as priority species for conservation.

At the event, the Chairperson of Infosys Foundation, Sudha Murthy, was felicitated after which she delivered the plenary speech on the deep connection with animals and their positive impact.

Emphasising on the aspect of compassion that is developed when children interact with animals, she explained how this connect with nature became even more important during the pandemic year.

Yadav, along with Gujarat's Minister for Forest and Environment, Kiritsinh Rana, also released three important publications of the CZA on the occasion.