The Rajasthan state Forest Department has a proposal to build a zoo inside Keoladeo National Park, also known as the Bharatpur bird sanctuary, to house a variety of wetland species such as rhinos, water buffaloes, crocs, dolphins, and exotic species.
According to the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Rajasthan Forestry and Biodiversity Development Project (RFBDP), the purpose of this zoo, called Wetland ex-situ Conservation Establishment (WESCE), is “to rejuvenate the bio-diversity of Keoladeo National Park, thereby boosting its outstanding universal values.”
The Rs 15-crore WESCE plan for Bharatpur is part of the ambitious RFBDP, for which the French government’s overseas development arm, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), has agreed to fund up to Rs 1,200 crore over eight years.
According to the DPR, several facilities are planned inside Keoladeo national park. These include a breeding and re-introduction centre for locally extinct species, such as otters, fishing cats, blackbucks, hog deer, etc, “with a collateral provision as exhibits for tourists”; an aquarium for species like Gangetic Dolphin, and crocodiles; the display of large wetland species like Indian Rhino, Water Buffalo, Barasingha (swamp deer); an aviary, a reptile house and a veterinary care facility; and an administrative block, tourist facilities, and residential quarters for Park manager, field staff and families.
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