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New zoo infrastructure part to be inaugurated by July

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Our Bureau

SHILLONG/TURA, June 17: The infrastructure part of the modern zoo in Ri-Bhoi district is likely to be inaugurated by next month.
However, it will take some time before the zoo opens its doors to the public as certain clearances are required to make a zoo operational.
State government sources told The Shillong Times on Monday that the process of relocating animals from the Ka Phan Nonglait Park, also known as the Lady Hydari Park, to the newly-constructed State Zoo in the Ri-Bhoi district has already started.
The sources said some animals have been shifted to the new zoo while the government is in touch with the zoo authorities of states like Assam and Uttar Pradesh to bring more animals here.
Zoo authorities in different states work in coordination with one another and animals are sent from one state to another under an exchange programme.
Controversy over shifting of Hoolock gibbons
from Garo Hills to new zoo
A controversy has erupted over the proposed shifting of Hoolock gibbons from Garo Hills to the new zoo in Ri-Bhoi.
Some organisations maintained that Hoolock gibbons, which are native to Garo Hills, cannot be shifted to Ri-Bhoi. The state government, however, said the temperatures in the two places are almost similar.
The A’chik Holistic Awakening Movement in Tura on Monday opposed the proposed relocation of Western Hoolock Gibbons from the Sonja Wildlife rescue Centre in Garo Hills to the State Zoo at Umtrew.
In a letter to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, the organisation cautioned that the move could cause ecological disturbances and raise concerns about conservation. Further, it said the animals will also face issues including stress and adaptation, if relocated.
“Western Hoolock gibbons are unique to the western part of Meghalaya. They are distinguished by their unique vocalizations, which are critical for maintaining social bonds and territorial claims. They also exhibit complex arboreal behaviours which are specific to the dense (Contd on P-4)
New zoo infrastructure part…
(Contd from P-1) forest habitats of Garo Hills. Relocating them to a zoo would strip them of their natural environment, potentially leading to the loss of these unique behaviours and adaptations,” the organisation said.
Furthermore, the organisation said, the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 mandates the protection of wildlife and their habitats. Transferring the gibbons violates these principles and legal protections designed to ensure their survival, it added.
Also highlighting the animal’s cultural significance to the Garos and the Garo Hills, the organization said, “The ‘Huro’ (as they call it) has been conserved for generations as it is a sacred animal. It is a cultural icon for the Garos, and the ancestors regarded the Huro as ‘A’song Nokgipa, Burung Nokgipa, and Chiga Nokgipa’ – meaning they are believed to be the custodians of the land, forest, and river. Thus, the Garo people have always understood the ecological importance of gibbons.”

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