‘Shift research hub to Ghats’
Deccanchronicle | C.S. Kotteswaran
Chennai: Wildlife activists and environmentalists have welcomed the announcements by chief minister J. Jayalalithaa about several projects to boost the much neglected environment and forest department, but demand that the integrated wildlife research institution proposed at Vandalur zoo in Chennai be shifted to the foothills of Western ghats, so that the Rs 27 crore research station can be a productive and vibrant lab taking advantage of proximity to the jungle. The Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur is all set to get the research centre that would provide all kind of information on wildlife and have a research laboratory and a large-size laboratory on plant and carnivores, said official sources.
“The chief minister has been kind and has ordered to create new posts of two scientists, four junior level researchers and two veterinary doctors. As of now, the wildlife biology graduates from the state are ignores and it would be appreciated if local resources are utilised,” said conservationist A. Kumaraguru, founder, Biodiversity Conservation Foundation.
The need of the hour is to reduce man-animal conflict in forest buffer areas and the new research centre if set up near reserve forests would serve its purpose in a better way and can provide scientific solutions to reduce the conflict, a senior biologist with the state forest department said.
The government had also planned to set up environment clubs in 100 schools of all 32 districts at a cost of Rs 80 lakh to create environment awareness among students to encourage school students to take up environment related studies, said avid bird watcher N. Balaji