Haldwani is all set to get the country’s first carbon neutral zoo. A major step towards ecological conservation, the zoo will be spread over a 400-acre complex, run using renewable resources like sun, water, and wind.
Carbon neutrality is no easy task. A lot of our most basic actions have a ‘carbon footprint,’ which means that they directly or indirectly result in a release of carbon into the atmosphere. Eating, showering, driving and using the facilities each have different footprints.
To neutralise those emissions, businesses and individuals need to both cut down on the footprint of each task, and find ways of capturing carbon back from the atmosphere. For some, this will mean changing vehicles from diesel to electric, for other this will mean planting trees.
At the end of the day, though, the emissions and the carbon capturing has to add up.
The construction of the zoo would take two years according to officials.
The environment of the zoo would resemble the animals’ natural surroundings as much as possible. It will consist of 19 segments, including a botanical garden and biodiversity park. The materials used in construction will also be environment-friendly. These include wood and other ‘green’ components. The attempt is to minimise the use of bricks and substances that emit carbon into the atmosphere.
We have started plantation of various species which absorb carbon emitted in the environment fast, such as bamboo and grasses of various species. Use of timber and eco-friendly building material such as autoclaved, aerated concrete blocks will ensure carbon neutrality.Parag Madhukar Dhakate, Director of the upcoming zoo, and Conservator, Western Circle, Forest Department.
The zoo will be equipped with wind and energy hybrid systems, wind turbines, fully automated organic waste composters, solar thermal water heating systems, solar street lighting, bio-toilets to promote clean energy and waste management solutions.
The project has been approved by the Central Zoo Authority and will be an independent one, unlike the earlier decision to make it a satellite of GB Pant High Altitude Zoo in Nainital town.
The Zoo premises will have different areas for carnivores, herbivores, and birds. A ‘walking aviary’ would be created for the visitors to pass through the habitat of housed birds.
A rich variety of animals like tigers, elephants and leopards along with reptiles, birds and amphibians will be housed in the Zoo. The ‘immersion exhibits’ in which the fauna will be placed will reduce the visibility of bars and cages to keep it as natural as possible for the animals.
The Zoo will be equipped with a rescue centre for wild animals. This would also double up as a conservative breeding centre, primarily for the fauna of lower altitudes. These fail to survive in the high altitudes of the Nainital Zoo.
The visitors can avail the monorail facility to enjoy a wildlife safari in the Zoo.
(With inputs from TOI)