AHMEDABAD: Reliance Industries Ltd will build what it claims to be the world’s largest zoo in Gujarat’s Jamnagar, a top company executive confirmed on Saturday. The zoo will house close to 100 different species of animals, birds and reptiles from India and across the world.
A pet project of Anant Ambani, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani’s youngest son, the zoo will be built on about 280 acres of land close to the company’s refinery project at Moti Khavdi near Jamnagar, the world’s largest oil refining complex where it operates a petrochemicals project as well.
The zoo is expected to open for public in the next two years if the project, which was delayed due to Covid-19, doesn’t face any further postponement, the executive said.
“It will be called ‘Greens Zoological, Rescue & Rehabilitation Kingdom’. All the required approvals from concerned central and state government authorities have already been obtained,” said Parimal Nathwani, RIL director (corporate affairs).
The zoo will have sections like ‘Forest of India’, ‘Frog House’, ‘Insect Life’, ‘Dragon’s Land’, ‘Exotic Island’, ‘Wild Trail of Gujarat’ and ‘Aquatic Kingdom’ among others, as per the plan layout shared on the Central Zoo Authority’s website.
Various species, including barking deers, slender loris, sloth bears, fishing cats, komodo dragons, Indian wolves and Rosy pelicans are proposed to be attractions of the zoo, which will also house six each of crowned cranes, jaguars and African lions, besides 12 ostriches, 20 giraffes, 18 meerkats, 10 spectacled caiman, seven cheetahs, African elephants and nine Great Indian Bustards. The frog house will have about 200 amphibians while the aquatic kingdom will house around 350 fishes.
“We are aware of RIL’s interest and passion for wildlife and its conservation. While not fully aware of the project details, I’m sure it will set a good example for private participation in wildlife conservation,” said Soumitra Dasgupta, additional director-general of forests (wildlife), ministry of environment, forest and climate change. The concept of private zoos is not new in India, Dasgupta said, adding that one of the country’s oldest zoos — The Zoological Garden, Kolkata — is a private one.
RIL has also set up a rescue centre at Jamnagar where a few leopards were recently shifted from the wild by the state forest department. “The centre is a CSR initiative meant to aid the forest department in sheltering big cats like leopards that have been injured or come into conflict with humans. It is separate from the zoo project and won’t open for the public,” said Nathwani, adding that the centre will provide state-of-the-art medical facilities for the resident animals.