Bhubaneswar: In a major policy initiative, the state government Monday decided to expand the area of the Nandankanan Zoological Park (NZP) by merging 604.6 hectares of Chandaka sanctuary with the park to accommodate more mammals and animals in the zoo.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the state wildlife board under the chairmanship of the forest and environment minister, Bijayshree Routray, here Monday.
“Today two proposals have been approved by the board–expansion of Nandankanan sanctuary and delimitation of the Bhitarakanika sanctuary,” Routray told the media after the meeting.
The NZP’s area will be pushed to its west by adding 531.76 hectares of Chudanga reserve forest and 72.84 hectares of Krushnanagar protected forest area, he said, adding, both Chudanga reserve forest and Krushnanagar protected forest areas come under the Chandaka-Dampada sanctuary.
“After addition of 604 hectares of forest area of Chandaka-Dampada sanctuary to Nandankanan sanctuary, its administrative control will be given to NZP. The entire area will come under a single boundary to prevent any kind of encroachments,” Routray said.
Deer and other such animals in Cuttack deer park and in Raj Bhawan park will be kept there. As there is a single road (Chandaka-Barang) between the two sanctuaries, an underpass will be constructed for passage of vehicles, he said.
At present, the NZP has 436.84 hectares and houses 156 types of species. There are 1,405 mammals, 1,695 birds, 296 reptiles and 21 amphibians in the zoo, official sources said.
The board has also decided to delimit the Bhitarkanika sanctuary to remove habitations from the sanctuary. “While declaring it as a sanctuary, some habitation areas have been included under it unnecessarily. Therefore, we have decided to remove 55 square km of area and add another 56 square km in the sanctuary for safety of people, mammals, reptiles and animals residing in it,” the minister added.