Union Minister Bhupender Yadav inaugurates National Conference for Zoo Directors in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav inaugurated the two-day National Conference for Zoo Directors here today.

The conference was organised with the objective of capacity building with focus on the planning of conservation breeding programs for endangered species, research initiatives, use of innovation and technology in scientific management in zoos, species acquisition plans and building collaborations. The conference saw the attendance of more than 70 participants from across the country.

During the inaugural, MEE-Zoo 2022, Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav- A compilation (Vol II), 2nd Edition of Field Guide for Rehabilitation of Indian Pangolin and a short video compilation of activities undertaken during the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav were released.

Bhupender Yadav, in his keynote, commended the Central Zoo Authority for carrying out the first round of the Management Effectiveness Evaluation in 39 Indian Zoos. He mentioned that this kind of evaluation, which encourages self-reflection is essential for all-round development and bridging gaps and must be done annually or once every two years.

He emphasised the linkages of ex-situ and in-situ conservation by drawing a parallel with the introduction of Cheetah in Madhya Pradesh. Further, he advised that zoos should emphasise programs for children and youth and build meaningful collaborations with regional and national natural history museums. Zoos should not only be places for scientific learning but also become integral to the culture of the region.

Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India emphasises zoo-based programs like “adopt-an-animal” which bring about a connection between people and the animals in the zoo and inspire a culture of conservation. He advised that awareness initiated focused on children with the development of skits in local languages etc would be valuable.  Such a gathering of like-minded people with similar conservation goals, with a unified objective of knowledge exchange is a positive step.

He appreciated efforts made by zoos during COVID and emphasised that the lessons learnt during the pandemic must inform future actions like planning sustainability initiatives.

As part of the conference, a poster session was scheduled during which zoo director’s presented achievements in conservation breeding, education and awareness and community outreach initiatives.

Day 1 focused on scientific management, technology and innovations for research and achieving targets of the Ten-Year Vision Plan for Indian Zoos and Strengthening CZA (2021-2031).

Pradeep Kumar Amat, Minister Forest, Environment and Climate Change Department, Govt. of Odisha  Aparajita Sarangi, Member of Parliament, Govt. of Odisha,  Satyabrata Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Forest, Environment and Climate Change Department, Government of Odisha, Debidutta Biswal, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest & Head of Forest Force, Government of Odisha, Sushil Kumar Popli,  Principal Chief Conservator of Forest & Chief Wildlife Warden, Government of Odisha were also present for the inauguration of the conference.

Bhupender Yadav, and Kiritsinh Rana, Minister for Forest and Environment, Government of Gujarat, 2021 and other officials of the Central and State Government will attend the valedictory session tomorrow.

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