06 Aug 2022  |   05:43am IST

Gung-ho about wildlife tourism, govt plans to upgrade State’s wildlife sanctuaries

Forest minister looks for corporate funding to run Bondla Zoo, recruits retired IFS officer to help plan activities to lure tourists
Gung-ho about wildlife tourism, govt plans to upgrade State’s wildlife sanctuaries

Team Herald

PANJIM: Nature-lovers will soon get to enjoy jungle safaris, campsites with a view, treks and eco-trails as part of the Goa government’s plans to promote wildlife and hinterland tourism in the State.

The State government has taken retired IFS officer Vinay Luthra on board to chalk out various plans - short, medium, and long term - for the upgradation of wildlife sanctuaries in Goa, over the next five years.

Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane is also planning to introduce corporate funding to run the State’s lone zoo at Bondla under the management of Forest Department.

Rane had a productive interaction with Luthra on Friday, in the presence of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Rajiv Kumar Gupta and Additional Chief Conservator of Forests Santosh Kumar.

“We chalked out various plans for the upgradation of wildlife sanctuaries, focusing on enhancing and creating a robust ecosystem,” the Minister tweeted after the meeting.

Goa has five wildlife sanctuaries - Bondla, Mhadei, Netravali, Cotigao and Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and National park, and the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Chorao.

Speaking to the media, Rane said that the department is contemplating introducing jungle safaris, developing camp sites and introducing eco-trails and guided treks into the sanctuaries   to attract more tourists towards wildlife tourism. “We need to create the required ecosystem for animals to have a jungle safari park. We also need to develop a sustainable food chain for the animals,” he said.

“Our sanctuaries require immediate care and promotion,” he said adding that corporate funding will be introduced to develop the forest sector for tourism, and in the first phase, the revamp of Bondla Zoo will be taken up.

The department has also decided to extend the area of the turtle nesting site at Galjibag.  For each of these projects, the services of the local community will be taken on board, he added.

Herald had earlier reported the Forest Department’s plans to launch a first-of-its-kind tiger safari in and around the protected areas of Bondla Zoo, which is set to welcome the new pair of tigers after the monsoon season.