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Plan to turn Dhaka Zoo into safari park

Published : 04 Aug 2021 10:31 PM | Updated : 06 Aug 2021 03:15 PM

Bangladesh National Zoo in the capital Dhaka's Mirpur will be turned into a safari park for the sake of elevating it to international standards, allowing caged animals to roam freely.

Instead of cages natural habitats will be developed to allow a wildlife environment. Visitors will be able to enjoy seeing the animals walking on protected pavements. There will be lakes for aquatic animals along with massive forestation to give a natural look of the forest.

A massive plan is underway to form this beautiful environment, the work of which may start next year, Director of the National Zoo Dr Md Abdul Latif told Bangladesh Post.

On the issue of modernization, he told this reporter, “Even after becoming a zoo, it will feel like a wildlife environment. There will be no cages. Instead, the animals will be surrounded with invisible electrical enclosure from distance. It will be covered with herbs and trees.”

Abdul Latif also said, “The current state of the zoo is modelled on the ideas dating back to 1920s and 1930s. We are planning to merge digital and wildlife. The zoo will be digitally mapped to the visitors.”

“We will introduce animals openly so that the wildlife as well as the visitors can feel that they are in a theme zone. Just like the deer in the Sundarbans goes back to the forest after drinking water, it will be the same here,” he added.

Under the master plan, the zoo will be divided into five zones. Bangladesh Habitat Zone for native animals, separate zone for other animals including Africa, one for nocturnal animals and a zone for pets. In addition, there will be an active zone for children to play. Moreover, forming a night safari park is also being considered.

When asked about the feeding arrangements for the animals, the zoo director told Bangladesh Post, “We have plans to plant edible trees in the animal sheds. In addition, the wild lives will be monitored and fed from outside if necessary.”

Mentioning the animals to be confined by a 20-foot-deep piling system, he said, “No drainage line from outside will get into the zoo. There will be a walkway along the border and a buffer zone, followed by a green girth.”

Referring to the two lakes in the zoo, Abdul Latif said, “We are considering introducing floating restaurants on the lakes. There will be cable cars installed to move from one side to the other side of the lake. We’ll also arrange bird-shows.”

Although there was a thought about the inclusion of dolphins in the master plan, the space in the lake is not enough. And, it will not hamper us to get the membership of the 'World Zoo Association', said the Director.

The government signed an agreement with Bernard Harrison & Friends Limited in 2019 to draw up a master plan for the modernization of the national zoo. After that, the officials of the organization visited the zoo a few times and almost completed the work of preparing the master plan.

Latif said, "The work of preparing and planning the layout has already progressed a lot. Due to the pandemic and lockdown, some work of the final layout is yet to finish. These will be completed in phases within this year."

"After submission to DPC (Development Planners and Consultants), budget will be allocated for its implementation. The project, worth Tk 5,000 to 10,000 crore, will be implemented under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock," he added.

Asked how long it would take to implement the plan, he said, “This will be done by shifting the animals to different zones in three steps. I think it will take a total of fifteen years, five years for each step.”