NAINITAL: In a major step towards ecological conservation, a zoo being planned in Haldwani will be the country’s first carbon neutral zoo. The 400 acre complex will be run using renewable resources such as sun, wind and water. The zoo is likely to be ready within two years, said officials, adding that animals will be ‘immersion exhibits’, where the environment will resemble the animals’ natural surroundings as closely as possible.
The zoo-cum-safari will be an independent one, unlike the earlier decision to make it a satellite of GB Pant High Altitude Zoo in Nainital town. The zoo will have 19 segments, including a botanical garden and biodiversity park, according to officials. Moreover, construction materials will include wood and other ‘green’ components, with less use of bricks and other substances whose manufacture generates more carbon.
Parag Madhukar Dhakate, director of the upcoming zoo and conservator of western circle, forest department, told TOI, “We have started plantation of various species which absorb carbon emitted in the environment fast, such as bamboo and grasses of various species. Use of timber and eco-friendly building material such as autoclaved aerated concrete blocks will ensure carbon neutrality.”
Clean energy and waste management solutions will be implemented in the zoo, including wind and solar hybrid energy systems, wind turbines, fully automated organic waste composters, solar thermal water heating systems, solar street lighting, bio-toilets and many more.
Carbon neutrality is a term used to describe organisations, businesses and individuals taking action to remove as much carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere as each put into it. The overall goal of carbon neutrality is to achieve a zero carbon footprint.
Work on the zoo has already begun and is likely to be completed in the next two years. The project has been approved by the Central Zoo Authority and will have ‘immersion exhibits’, under which bars, cages and buildings housing the animals will have as less visibility as possible and the animals’ natural environments will be recreated, said officials.
The premises will be divided into different sections including separate ones for carnivores, herbivores and birds. Visitors will also get to see ‘Walking Aviary’, a lane created to pass through the habitat of the housed birds for a live experience.
The fauna will include tigers, elephants and leopards as well as many species of reptiles, amphibians and birds. The facility will also include a veterinary hospital, a rescue centre for wild animals and will also be used as a conservation breeding centre. It will house the wildlife of lower altitudes that often fail to survive in the high-altitude zoo of Nainital.
The facility will also have a monorail for visitors to enjoy a wildlife safari. Monorail was added to the project to provide a safer alternative. Earlier, the plan was to get vehicles for tourists to have a live safari experience, but the plan was changed due to security concerns.