Delhi is likely to get its first wild animal rescue centre by the end of the year, Forest department officials said on Wednesday. The facility will come up on a 1.24-acre plot in Rajokri where a monkey rescue centre is lying abandoned, they said.
Three rapid response teams of five members each will be constituted to rescue stranded animals and rehabilitate them at the Rajokri facility, an official said. The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority has sanctioned funds for these purposes.
The teams will be constituted in a month, while the facility will be ready by year-end, the official said. The animal rescue centre will come up in place of a proposed facility for birds. “There was a proposal for a wild bird rescue centre pending before the Supreme Court-constituted Central Empowered Committee. The panel opined there was no need for it considering only kites, pigeons and other such birds will be treated there,” an official told PTI.
The panel was not quite convinced about setting aside government resources for birds which are not of great conservation value and asked the Forest department to provide data justifying the requirement of such a centre.
“When we went through data of animals rescued, we came to know that birds alone did not justify a separate facility. But if we talk of wild animals rescued, such as nilgai, mongoose, monkeys and jackals, and reptiles, there is more than adequate justification,” the official said.
Approval of the Ridge Management Board was needed to “broaden” the proposal of a wild bird rescue centre to a wild animal rescue centre. The wild animal rescue centre will also be used for treating birds, he said. The proposal was to be discussed at a meeting of the Ridge Management Board on January 18 which could not be convened in view of the Assembly polls in February. Thereafter, it was delayed due to the COVID-19-triggered lockdown.
“The proposal will now be discussed in a board meeting slated for Friday. Once we have the approval of the RMB, we will approach the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) with adequate justification,” the official said. Approval of the Supreme Court through the CEC is required to use Ridge land for any other purposes.