Koraput: The forest department has approached the Zoo Authority of India (ZAI) to accord mini zoo status to the 30-year-old deer park located at Papdahandi in Nabarangpur district.
Officials said the department has prepared a masterplan for makeover of the park and has sent it to the ZAI for approval.
“We have sent a detailed project report (DPR) to the ZAI asking for mini zoo status for the deer park. The masterplan for the park has been prepared as the ZAIs guidelines. Once our proposal gets approved, renovation work will be started,” said Malat Mohan, regional chief conservator of forests (Koraput).
Established in 1986 and located at a distance of about 10km from the district headquarters town of Nabarangpur, the park attracts both animal lovers and tourists.
Officials said the park is spread over an acre of land and houses 130 deer, including 63 female deer. Annually, around Rs 5 lakh is spent on the maintenance of the animals. On an average, about 100 visitors visits the park.
“The DPR proposes to expand the park to 10 acres. Apart from deer, many other wild animals – except tigers – and several varieties of birds, crocodiles and snakes will be kept in the zoo,” said Mohan.
According to the officer, the DPR also proposes to construct an animal rescue centre, a veterinary ward, a walking track and water fountains at the mini zoo.
Locals are upbeat about the potential conversion of the park into a mini zoo and support the move. “Converting the park into a zoo will certainly increase the inflow of tourists to the area and will be helpful in strengthening the economy of the local tribals,” said Nikunja Pattnaik, a Nabarangpur resident.