Friday, 11 May 2018

Zoo with a Difference

You want to talk to a Tiger?
You want a Sloth Bear to follow you?
Have you seen a Hyena responding to humans?
All this- not in a circus but in the animal's own habitat?
The answer is Kamla Nehru Prani Sangrahalaya or Indore Zoo in Madhya Pradesh India!

Every zoo has animal enclosures, sign boards, green cover and thousands of visitors. Indore Zoo has all of this and much more. It's tagline 'Conserve, Educate, Recreate' says it all. Managed by the Indore Municipal Corporation, it has a team of volunteers who help the visitors, children as well as the Zoo authorities in many ways. Brought together under the umbrella of ARPF- Animal Rehabilitation and Protection Front, these ARPFians  provide the 'Voice for the Voiceless'. As the ARPF website explains "Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That is where the real problem lies."

ARPF is a youth-based, result-oriented wildlife organisation that originated in the mind of an engineering student Nihar Parulekar
It rapidly became a platform for wildlife enthusiasts to learn and educate others on the importance of conservation and respect for the Environment. In a short span, ARPF has grown from a group of  20 wildlife enthusiasts to a powerful voluntary force of more than 3000 individuals all over India.

Ghumakkad visited the Zoo in January 2018 and caught up with Nihar. We had met earlier in Hyderabad. Nihar is now the Curator and Education Officer of Indore Zoo. As happens with many government offices, the walls in Nihar's office developed some cracks. Guess what did he do? He got the wall painted  with a Baby Bear thus hiding the cracks! Animal passion leading to innovation. Pictures.

Who was the painter? Another volunteer form the fine arts college. Aishani Jain, the creative artist spoke to Ghumakkad. Excerpts.

Let us go around the zoo. Majestic Lions in high noon like to do the same as we all- sleep like a log! Picture.

Talking of innovation, Indore Zoo leads the way. To caution the visitors not to throw food or trash in animal enclosures, the sign board was unique.

Tiger 'Lucky' who was adopted by Nihar.

Nihar converses with the animals every evening. After the visitors leave, he takes his bicycle and goes around all the enclosures 'talking' to the animals. See the video clip below where Mona the hyena follows Nihar's call.

We next met Krishna the Sloth Bear and his companion. 

The Sloth Bear followed every command of Nihar including a 'ramp walk' for us. Video clips.

And then Krishna walked the stone wall, balancing carefully, to a round of applause from all of us!

The Zoo has a unique scheme for adoption of animals. The adoption scheme helps to support the animals as well as upkeep of the zoo. See the Star Tortoise adoption by an environment- conscious citizen in the picture below.

With the efforts of passionate people like Nihar, we are confident that one day India can also boast of Zoos like the Singapore Zoo or world famous San Diego Zoo. On that optimistic note, Ghumakkad thanked and bade goodbye to Nihar.

We close with a quotation from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India who said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

Thanks for browsing.

   -  Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Neeta Bhargava/ 12th May 2018

#Zoo #IndoreZoo #ARPFIndia #NiharParulekar #WildlifeConservation #WildlifeEducation #Innovation #AishaniJain #Volunteers #AnimalAdoption #VoiceForTheVoiceless #GhumakkadHarsh #GhumakkadHB

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