Director hopes zoo can be saved A significant increase in revenues earned by Chiang Mai Night Safari during the past year should help it survive an attempt to close the money-losing venture, says Sarawut Srisakura, the zoo's newly appointed director.
However, such measures did not alleviate the intensity of conflict in the affected areas," the ministry said in a statement.
While releasing the guidelines for the first time, on the basis of previous efforts at mitigation of the problem in high-conflict states like Maharashtra, the ministry has suggested a three-pronged strategy to deal with the situation.
"These guidelines, the first of its kind from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, are based on consultations with a host of scientists and experts who have worked on the issue, and various scientific studies and reports," the statement explains.
Located on an area of more than 800 rai in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park about 12km from downtown Chiang Mai, the zoo aimed to be the region's biggest night wildlife centre despite protests from local activists.
Over the years, the night zoo has been criticised for the poor conditions provided for animals and reports of wildlife deaths.
But the zoo claimed the rate of animal deaths has been cut by 20%.Moreover, the number of animals has doubled to more than 1,800 over five years.The government provides the Night Safari with a 110-million-baht operating subsidy annually.The zoo has suffered losses during the past five years - but management claims the operation is self-sustaining.Mr Sarawut said he was confident that an almost 50% increase in the zoo's revenues from the fiscal year 2010 to 2011 would convince the panel that its management plan is sound enough to warrant continued operations. "We are the biggest money maker in the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration [a public organisation to which the Mo EF says trapping and shifting leopards to Bondla zoo is ineffective Trapping and shifting leopards from human habitations to the Bondla zoo may have been followed like an ideal solution to man-animal conflicts in Goa, but the Union ministry of environment and forests has termed it ineffective."The capture and translocation of problem leopards has been a common practice in various parts of the country.