Students vouch for zoo youth club

Students vouch for zoo youth club

Participants learn about importance of wildlife, biodiversity at the 25-week camp

Budding wildlife experts: Students seen with zoo executive director B P ravi, Zoo Authority of Karnataka chairman M Nanjundaswamy, Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute director general R M N Sahai and additional principal chief conservator of forests M N Jayakumar at the valedictory of youth club activities in Mysore on Sunday. DH PhotoSri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens was abuzz with excitement on Sunday as 61 students, representing 34 institutions, were preparing to participate in the valedictory programme of the youth club activities being held continously for the 19th year.

Having spent every Sunday for the past 25 weeks at the zoo, learning about the variety of animals and birds, the students were all praise for the activities conducted by the zoo, including classroom lectures, field practicals and visit to forests to get an understanding of the importance of biodiversity.

Speaking on the occasion, Ullas, a participant, said his father got the application form for the zoo youth club without the former’s knowledge.

Being apprehensive, initially, about joining the youth club, Ullas now feels that his knowledge about animals has increased tremendously and it would eventually give him a boost in his career.

The club, which is open for students in the age group of 12 to 18 years, also helps one to improve one’s personality, according to participant Chandrika.

“Earlier, I was scared to talk to people. It was difficult for me to make friends easily. But after joining the camp, I have gained confidence and my message is ‘nurture nature’,” she added.

Students were taken to Ranganthittu bird sanctuary, Kokkrebellur, Bandipur and Nagarhole national parks as part of the club activities. Trekking and rock climbing at Chamundi Hill was also undertaken to highlight the potential of eco-tourism.

Shortage of staff

Speaking on the occasion, zoo executive director B P Ravi mentioned that 240 employees work to take care of 1,450 animals and birds.

With only 78 permanent staff and 40 of them expected to retire shortly, a proposal has been put forth to confirm jobs of more employees.

He said 12,000 visitors visit the zoo every day and it reaches 30,000 on holidays. It is a challenge to maintain crowds with such shortage of staff.

The intention of conducting youth club activities is to develop leadership qualities among students and instil courage and confidence among them.

Ravi said plans are afoot to improve the islands at Karanji Lake in order to attract more number of birds.

Threat of extinction

Additional principal chief conservator of forests M N Jayakumar reminded students that every year more than 40,000 species were becoming extinct. He warned that unless conservation was taken up, more than 25 per cent of biodiversity would be lost in the next 20 years.

Director general, Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute, R M N Sahai said the need of the hour was to educate the masses about biodiversity. Once animals and plants become extinct, it would be the turn of man.

Zoo Authority of Karnataka chairman M Nanjundaswamy and others were present.

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