National zoo to be recreational tourist centre

ECNEC approves master plan

The government plans to develop and convert the existing Bangladesh National Zoo at Mirpur into a modern comprehensive zoo-cum-recreational centre for enhanced public interaction. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the master plan for the upliftment works of the zoo. The national zoo will be developed in line with Singapore's 'Jurong Bird' Park, one of the best-known parks in the world.

Sources said that the main objective of developing the zoo into the new look of a bio park is having conservation, education, research and recreation programs. Conservation would help the survival of wild populations of animals, while education would increase the level of awareness, knowledge and understanding of visitors about animals, the environment and conservation, and to motivate behaviour change which will help the environment.

Research would be conducted on animals both in captivity and in the wild, with particular emphasis on species which face extinction. Lastly, recreation would certainly provide enjoyment and enrichment for visitors through close contact with the animals. The new plan of the Bangladesh National Zoo envisions creating a new tourist spot in the zoo and a place for animal lover and aspiring birdwatchers. It would expand into a new landscape with planned planting of trees and set up amusement parks inside to allow more enthusiastic visitors seeking to spend leisure time.

As seen in 'Jurong Bird' Park exotic bird species like Ostrich, Emu, Lorikeets, Parakeets and various waterbird species will be conserved in special aviaries. Bangladesh National Zoo is the fourth largest in the world in terms of its size. The new plan outlines designs to facilitate visitors to come and stay in the zoo premises even at night with tighter security.

Apart from this, there would be several restaurants selling meals at affordable prices working closely with the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation. A modern tourist hotel will also be opened. Currently, there are more than two thousand different types of animals, including birds. The Department of Livestock has finalized the work plan for the development of new infrastructure, collection of animals and birds.

In the current financial year, the tender draft has been prepared. In addition, there are some types of materials that will be useful for research purposes. Lions, bears, kangaroo and ostrich are arriving soon. “The work on developing the zoo has already begun. In the first phase, two aviaries will be developed. Exotic bird species like Ostrich, Emu, Lorikeets, Parakeets and various waterbird species will be kept in the aviaries.” an official of the zoo said.

The curator of the zoo SM Nazrul Islam said that the ambitious plans include constructing cable car, underwater fish aquarium, developing facilities for the dolphin show, having laser show, organize night safari tours, lake safari, forest lodging, build the number of watchtowers, develop well-equipped flower garden and butterfly park.

Besides, more than 150 animals and birds will be collected from international and domestic markets through the tender, he added. The curator also said that the process of collecting chimpanzees, African lions, white lions, leopards, Chitra deers, hyenas, white pelican birds and cadaveric birds from international markets have been finalized. The upper chamber of the Zoo Museum has been modernized with financial support from Japan.

He added that there are more animals than any other zoo in the world. But not being a member of the World Zoo Association, the addition of new animals, the appointment of trained doctors and specialists and other facilities cannot be guaranteed. Work is underway to make the Bangladesh National Zoo the number one attractive zoo in the world by implementing a master plan, the official stressed.

In addition, the construction of a one-way road for the visitors has begun by changing the current approach road that links the zoo. A Japanese zoo architecture company and zoo consultant would be hired to build the zoo animal cages for its natural look. The cage of the current system will be replaced by a semi-natural, animal-friendly and three-level safety cage. The overall zoo environment has been improved for visitors.