SHILLONG: Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday unveiled the foundation stone of a new state zoo at Umtrew, Ri Bhoi district, while attending the valedictory function of Wildlife Week 2019.
"Change is imperative and while keeping up with the changing world, there should be a balance between economy and ecology ," he said, addressing a gathering on the occasion.
Pointing out that Meghalaya is "richly blessed" with diversity in flora and fauna and that it is the duty of everyone to protect and conserve this biodiversity, he said, "This zoo will be a place where the people, especially the children, will get a chance to see the wildlife of the state while learning to take care and respect these animals".
He added that the zoo should not only be a place of entertainment but also a centre of learning.
"It's sad to see that people still go for hunting and I hope this zoo will change the mindset of the people that the forests also belong to the animals who are a part of the biodiversity," he said.
Minister of forests and environment Lakhmen Rymbui said a land of 72 hectares for the zoo was acquired in 2001 and the Central Zoo Authority has given its approval for the state zoo. He added that the zoo is likely to come up by January, 2022.
At present, the only zoo in the state is located inside the Lady Hydari Park at Barik in Shillong . Animal rights activists having pointed out that the enclosures for birds and animals at the park do not conform to the laid down guidelines.