Forest dept to set up world's first mangrove zoo at Jharkhali

Kolkata: In a bid to conserve the endangered flora and fauna in the world's largest mangrove forest, the Sunderbans, the state Forest department has initiated a process to set up a zoological garden at the Jharkhali area of South 24-Parganas.

State Forest minister Rajib Banerjee recently visited the Sunderbans to take a stock of the situation and to assess how his department would proceed further with the project.

The world's first mangrove zoological garden would be set up near Jharkhali tourism centre in three phases, at an approximate cost of Rs 100 crore.

The state government would spend the entire expenditure to make it a prominent tourism centre on the world map.

It has been learnt that the mangrove zoological garden would come up on 100 acres of land in the area, which the state Forest department officials believe would attract a huge number of international tourists, besides those from across the country.

It may be mentioned here that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier announced the ambitious

project during a public meeting in South 24-Parganas.

The Chief Minister had inaugurated a tiger rescue centre at Jharkhali, named 'Byaghrosundari'.

She had also announced to set up a gateway to Sunderbans, similar to the ones of Digha and Sagar Islands.

Jharkhali is one of the several entry points to the Sunderbans and a home to the endangered Royal Bengal tiger. The proposed zoological garden will accommodate animals like the Royal Bengal tiger, spotted deer, wild boar, crocodiles and otters.

It will serve as a conservation, breeding and rehabilitation centre for animals found in the mangrove ecosystem.

Apart from Royal Bengal tigers, a good number of rare and globally threatened animals including estuarine crocodile, fishing cat, common otter, water monitor lizard, Gangetic dolphin, river terrapin and some species of turtles like olive ridley turtle, green sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, etc will also find home at the zoo.

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