BHUBANESWAR: Nandankanan Zoological Park has become a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). It is the first zoo in India to acquire this distinction.
Having more than 240 zoos and aquaria as its members, WAZA works as a catalyst for joint conservation. WAZA membership would provide leadership and support for zoos, aquaria and partner organizations around the world in animal care and welfare, conservation of bio-diversity, environmental education and global sustainability, a WAZA communique told Nandankanan.
Zoo director Ajit Pattnaik said, “This is really a great achievement. We are involved in many ambitious conservation and breeding programmes for endangered species. Habitat loss, human encroachment and poaching are some of the challenges faced by endangered animals these days. Support from WAZA would go a long way in conservation efforts and help provide care to many endangered species.” The zoo houses a population of nearly 1,200 animals, including 107 reptiles, 574 birds and 437 mammals.
Nandankanan sources said the zoo has rare pangolin and vulture conservation centres which other zoos can develop. The zoo has been laying emphasis on animal welfare, health care, ethical standards, best practices of animal husbandry and enclosure enrichments for the successful conservation of endangered species.
Now Nandankanan will get the opportunity to take part in the development of new strategies and policies which will have an impact on the future development of zoos and aquariums worldwide.
Once the zoo becomes a member, the authorities can use the WAZA brand for promoting the organization and its conservation projects.
The tag would also enable Nandankanan staff to take part in different meetings and conferences in which they could interact with other members of WAZA as well as renowned experts in various fields. It would also provide the staff an opportunity to experience foreign zoos, aquaria and nature reserves