The 8th Annual South
Asian Zoo Association for Regional
Co-operation was held at Greenwoods Resort
in Ahmedabad, Gujarat from 30 January-3
February for five days. The conference was
organized by ZOO and WILD and hosted by
Kamla Nehru Zoological Gardens, Ahmedabd
Municipal Corporation, Twenty eight
participants including two resource persons
from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan,
South Africa, Sri Lanka and United Kingdom
participated in this conference .
The two days before the zoo
conference, the Forest department of Gujarat
and GEER Foundation hosted the two day
workshop which has accompanied SAZARC
conference for last five years. Following
the conference all
the foreign delegates visited Gir Lion
Sanctuary-the last home for Asiatic Lions
and the famous Sakkarbaug Zoo, also hosted
by the Forest Department of Gujarat.
Reports of these events will appear later.
The theme of the South Asian
regional conference was “Zoo Legislation”.
It was inaugurated by the Mayor and attended
by Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Pradeep Khanna
PCCF (WL), Forest Department, the Director,
Animal Husbandry department and others. Dr.
R.K. Sahu, President, SAZARC welcomed the
gathering. Ms. Sally Walker introduced the
workshop theme and that was improving zoo
standards with zoo legislation and
inspections. Afterwards country
representatives gave a presentation on what
kind of legislation or regulation they have
at present in their respective country.
These presentations set the tone of a
discussion of how SAZARC could help all of
its zoos to improve their standards and
become more consistent with the conservation
aspirations and activities of the
international zoo community.
In the second day Mr. Brij Kishor
Gupta of CZA covered Indian Zoo
Legislation and the Central Zoo Authority. Brij
gave detailed and engaging presentations on
1. Policy, Legislation, Rules; 2.
Implementation of Zoo Legislation; and 3.
Problems and Issues of Indian Zoo
Legislation which held participants
spellbound and generated many good
questions. Afterwards Indian Zoo Directors
from Nandankanan zoo, Sakkarbaug Zoo,
Sepahijala Zoo, Chhatbir Zoo and Sri
Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens spoke about
their experience running their zoos with CZA
and Indian Zoo Legislation. There was good
discussion and questions from all
participants throughout which set the tone
for working groups of the countries the
Third day theme was zoo regulation,
how and what kind. The day started with an
excellent presentation by Mr. Dave Morgan,
Executive Director, PAAZAB on “operational
standards in African Association of Zoos and
Aquaria”. Then working groups were formed
with respective country members to discuss
on strategic actions relative to operational
zoo standards for countries. Then working
groups presented their reports. In the
afternoon all participants went to the
Gujarat Secretariat for a rare honor of
meeting the most dynamic Chief Minister, Mr.
Narendra Modi. He interacted with the
delegates and asked their opinion to improve
the government efforts of insitu and
exsitu conservation in his state. The
meeting was held for one hour although the
initial time was given 10 minutes.
Fourth day theme was “New Challenges
and Conservation effectiveness”. Today the
speakers talked about the different issues
prevailing in India as well as other parts
of the world. At first, Dr. B.A.Daniel of
Zoo Outreach Organisation gave a
presentation on “Climate challenges and what
zoos can do”. At the end he interacted with
participants and asked their views how zoos
could contribute to mitigate the problems.
Some of the good suggestions came up from
the participants. Mr. Sanjay Molur of ZOO
gave a presentation on “Status of amphibians
in South Asia with special reference to
emerging diseases”. He talked at length the
status of amphibians in South Asia and
present “amphibian crisis” due to diseases.
Then ZOO staff R.Marimuthu and B.A. Daniel
conducted amphibian education programme with
activities using the ZOO amphibian education
kit. Dave Morgan of PAAZAB screened a video
on amphibians which tells about the current
global “amphibian crisis”. Followed to this,
Sanjay Molur talked about the present
Gharial situation in India-what can zoos do.
Mike Jordan of Chester Zoo, UK gave two very
interesting presentations on this day and
they were 1. Species management planning at
Chester Zoo and 2. The world of rodents and
On the fifth and last day, groups
were formed on 1.SAZARC norms; 2. WAZA
inspection questionnaire format; 3. Dangers
of release of zoo animals in the wild; and
4. Capacity building through SAZARC zoo
personnel. The SAZARC Norms group discussed
the desirability of having a set of norms
and standards under the auspices of SAZARC
which can be used in low-key good will
inspections to generate interest in the
public about zoo standards. The WAZA norms
group worked on reviewing the WAZA complaint
tool assessing its applicability and
suggesting minor corrections. Release of
animals in the wild group discussed, listed
and suggested reasonable solutions for
releasing the captive animals in to the wild
by following Guidelines of the
Reintroduction Specialist Group RSG.
The Capacity building through SAZARZ zoo
personnel group worked on the mechanism for
organizing capacity building by sharing
expertise from zoo managers in the regions.
After their prolonged discussion, the groups
presented their reports.
Mr. Herath, Mudiyanselage Bandula Chandralal,
Addl. Secretary, Ministry of Sports and
Public Recreation, Sri Lanka has been
unanimously selected as next President of
SAZARC and 9th SAZARC meeting
will be hosted by Sri Lanka.
Highlights and achievements of our CBSG/RSG/SAZARC
conducted a CBSG RSG meeting with
explanations of both specialist groups and
meaningful working groups on increasing prey
base in satellite lion areas, Gharial and
· We had
participants, resource persons and policy
makers for zoo legislation from seven
· We had
excellent presentations on zoo legislation
from all the countries as well as South
Africa and U.K.
had Dr. Brij Gupta of Central Zoo Authority
who spent a whole day expertly reviewing the
Indian zoo legislation scenario for the
South Asian zoo participants. Indian
zoo directors delivered presentations on
their experience with CZA.
had Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and
Bangladesh representation and all came out
with an appropriate action plan for their
had agreement that SAZARC could be useful
to them in finalising the process
had a request for SAZARC to adopt official
SAZARC Standards based on the WAZA zoo
had a meeting at the
Gujarat's dynamic Chief
Minister spent one full hour speaking
had a tour to Gir Forest and saw Gir lions
in the wild and in captivity at the Safari
Park maintained adjacent to Gir.
had a wonderful discussion on Gir’s
management with the Conservator of Forest at
the Forest Rest House.
visited the Ashoka Stone and were inspired
by this first official document on animal
welfare, where Asoka declares
“abstention from killing animals, abstention
from hurting living beings”
visited the 140 year old Sakkarbaug Zoo
founded for displaced Gir Lions, and saw
their amazing new enclosures.
decided to hold next SAZARC in Sri Lanka and
elected an Additional Secretary with much
zoo exposure and interest as our President
for the year.
The following Zoo organizations sponsored
the conference: Chester Zoo, UK; Benindi
Fund, UK; Universities Federation for Animal
Welfare, UK; Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens,
UK; Awley People and Wildlife, France;
Knowsley Safari Par, UK; Apenheul Primate
Park, Netherlands; Asoociation of British
Wild Animal Keepers, UK; Saint Louis Zoo,
USA; Paignton Zoo, UK; Metro-Toronto Zoo,
Canada; Skansen-Akvariet, Sweden. Additional sponsorship which made the
conference much more enjoyable with fine
meals and entertainment were:
Corporation; Indian Inovatix Ltd; Helpro
Health Products Ltd; Zydus AHL; Rakesh
Pharmaceuticals; Jaldhara Super Star
Amusement Pvt Ltd.