By Aswin J. Kumar
THIRUVANANTHPURAM: The proposed animal exchange plan of city zoo with Yalta zoo in Russia has run into trouble with the forest department raising objections regarding the procedure. The forest and wildlife department has currently put the proposal on hold citing that it would require a clearance from the Union government. P Mara Pandiyan, principal secretary, forest and wildlife department said that it was a deal that involved a foreign country and hence clearance from the central government was essential.
"The city zoo has received a communication from the Russian zoo regarding exchange of animals. It has to happen between two countries. Both zoos should initiate the proposal through their respective governments," said Mara Pandiyan.
The objection raised by the forest department has irked the zoo officials.
According to zoo administration, animal exchange programmes happen regularly between zoos in the country and other foreign zoos and clearance from various departments are naturally involved.
"It is unreasonable to state that we need a clearance from the Union government when any kind of exchange programme with foreign zoo involves obtaining approvals from various central government departments. Mysore zoo constantly does exchange programmes with Singapore zoo and German zoo," said a zoo official.
The city zoo had earlier brought jaguar and anacondas from other countries. It was executed through a 10-step procedure in which the officials had procured approval from the central zoo authority, the chief wildlife warden, the zoos en route, state forest departments en route, agencies for emergency-assistance, CITES (convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora), DGFT (director general of foreign trade),customs department and ministry of environment and forests.
Mara Pandian however maintained that any kind of deal with a foreign country can be initiated only with prior clearance from the centre. "Once the government gives the green signal, we are willing to give animals as required by the zoo,'' he said.
As per the proposal, the city zoo would give three elephants to Yalta zoo in exchange for a white Lion, squirrel monkeys, ring-tailed coati, a pair of Siberian tigers and a pair of Llamas.
The zoo administration is now planning to hold a meeting with the forest department to resolve the confusion that has arisen over the animal exchange programme.
The forest and wildlife department has currently put the exchange programme with Yalta zoo in Russia on hold citing that it would require a clearance from the Union government.