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World Bank to extend $20 million for reconstructing Visakhapatnam's Indira Gandhi Zoological Park

PTI 17 Jan 2016, 11:20:58 IST
PTI

NEW DELHI: The World Bank usually tames wild economies and helps countries stabilise their fluctuating finances, but in a global first, the banker for the world has gone to a zoo that too in India! This is a new addition in the portfolio of the bank as part of its ever-expanding work on urban regeneration. 

A zoo is nothing but a bank of captive animals. In a novel initiative, the World Bank has embraced a zoo for its eco-development! 

In Visakhapatnam, the global bank is extending an assistance of USD 20 million to help reconstruct the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP), which got devastated during cyclone Hudhud. This is part of the USD 370 million Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery Project for which the bank is extending assistance of USD 250 million from 2015-2020. 

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The much-loved Vizag zoo is nestled in the picturesque Eastern Ghats. It sees an annual footfall of about 8 lakh people and was set up in 1972 and shot into fame because it had some aviaries designed by the legendary ornithologist Salim Ali, the 'bird man of India'. 

Neha Vyas, senior environment specialist at the India country office of the World Bank who is actively involved in this eco-development project, asserts that this is "the very first time in the history of the World Bank that it is directly involved in a zoo". 

The Vizag zoo situated on the northern limit of the Visakhapatnam town houses 170 different species of animals on its 250-hectare campus. Only a road separates the zoo from the sea and this became its undoing, when Hudhud struck the region it caused huge damage to the entire zoo. 

According to a damages needs assessment report by the World Bank, almost 40 per cent of the trees of the complex were flattened and a larger number were damaged. Some 180 birds and animals escaped from their enclosures as the cages were badly damaged and 11 animals died due to the cyclone. Out of 67 enclosures about 57 suffered damages. 

According to a damages needs assessment report by the World Bank, almost 40 per cent of the trees of the complex were flattened and a larger number were damaged. Some 180 birds and animals escaped from their enclosures as the cages were badly damaged and 11 animals died due to the cyclone. Out of 67 enclosures about 57 suffered damages. 

"Unfortunately for the zoo, the eye of the cyclone Hudhud passed right over it causing widespread devastation in the zoological park," says Vyas. 

The enclosures for tiger, python and the white tiger were severely damaged. The offices including the veterinary hospital were also affected and the compound wall was breached in several places. The adjoining Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary was also damaged.