WB plans to set up country’s largest leopard safari

West Bengal govt plans to set up country’s largest leopard safari

Representative image (Reuters)

West Bengal government has taken up major wildlife conservation and tourism projects in north Bengal. Not only will it set up a mini zoo in a 27 hectare area in Alipurduar district but also has plans for establishing the largest leopard safari in the area in near future. The mini zoo will come up in the South Khairbari area of the district.

Speaking to DH, Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee said that proposal for setting up the leopard safari will soon be sent to the Central Zoo Authority.  

“As soon as we get the approval, we will start the work,” said Banerjee.

The Forest Department has big plans for the mini zoo which will house Royal Bengal tigers, leopards, wild cats and dogs, Asiatic black boars, sloth and black bears.

If everything goes according to the plan, the people of Bengal may soon see Asiatic lions in the proposed mini zoo. Banerjee said that they are yet to have the approval for keeping lions in the zoo but will apply for it soon.

On the other side of the enclosure, animals such as rhinoceros, Indian bison, Swamp deer and barking deers will be kept.

Apart from this, a crocodile park will also be set up near the banks of the Torsa river. According to sources in the Forest Department, a creek will be dug from the river to house crocodiles.

“There will be a sluice gate at the mouth of the creek to ensure that the crocodiles cannot escape into the river,” a senior Forest Department official said.

He also said that the mini zoo will cost around Rs 40 lakh and will be complete in three years.

Currently, the South Khairbari area serves as an animal rescue Centre which currently hosts an old Royal Bengal Tiger which was rescued from Sundarbans following an injury and about 20 leopards rescued from tea gardens. However, currently visitors are not allowed in the rescue Centre which was set up 15 years ago.