Ministry reconstitutes Central Zoo Authority

New faces include a molecular biologist

The Environment Ministry has reconstituted the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to include an expert from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, and a molecular biologist. The CZA is a statutory body chaired by the Environment Minister and tasked with regulating zoos across the country.

The authority lays down guidelines and prescribes rules under which animals may be transferred among zoos nationally and internationally.

Apart from the chairman, it consists of 10 members and a member-secretary. Almost all of them are officials in the Environment Ministry and non-government experts are those who are wildlife conservationists or retired forest officers.

In the new dispensation, that came into effect on Tuesday, Abhilash Khandekar, senior journalist and environmentalist, continues to be part of the new list of members. However, Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF for Nature-India, is no longer a member of the new authority, along with Bharat Pathak and C.S. Yalakki, both retired Indian Forest Service officers.

New faces include the Director, School of Planning and Architecture, P.S.N. Rao, and Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Karthikeyan Vasudevan.

From June 1, the CZA has allowed zoos to take a call on opening them to visitors.

In May, concerns were raised whether animals, particularly big cats, could be a source of transmission of COVID-19 after reports emerged of a tiger in New York’s Bronx Zoo testing positive. Following that, the CZA issued an advisory for enhanced surveillance.

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