Public leaders and conservation organizations, students, wildlife lovers and educators, came together to show their support for Nepal's only national-level zoo, the Central Zoo, on the occasion of its 26 years of management under NTNC. Each year, Poush 14 of the Nepali calendar (December 29) marks the day when the management responsibility of the Central Zoo was handed over to NTNC. The day is among the Central Zoo's most important annual calendar events, where celebrations are observed from a fortnight in advance.
During this year's main-day celebrations, Mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City Mr. Chiribabu Maharjan, who was chief guest, awarded recognitions and prizes to 20 zookeepers who have been serving at the Central Zoo for over two decades, plus 16 students from previously organized friends of zoo interschool competition categories, and nine newest animal guardians who have joined NTNC's 'Adopt-an-Animal' campaign.
At the event the Lalitpur Mayor emphasized the Central Zoo's increasing relevance in promoting conservation education among urban populations, its experience in science-based animal management and specialized care, and in enhancing wildlife rescue and ex situ research capacities. He noted the historical importance of the zoo facility in terms of its civic and cultural aspect also, and committed to meeting support for the most expensive animal at the zoo along with infrastructural renovation and development of the zoo's cultural and historic spots.
Appreciation to the Lalitpur Mayor was also conferred by the NTNC Chairman Dr. Krishna Prasad Oli, who expressed gratitude for the strong leadership and proactive support of Lalitpur Municipality to the Central Zoo. Other guest speakers at the event included Dr. Maheshwor Dhakal, Member Secretary of the President Chure-Tarai Madhesh Conservation Development Board, including addresses made by the NTNC Member Secretary Mr. Sharad Chandra Adhikary, and by the Central Zoo Manager Ms. Rachana Shah.
26 years since the Central Zoo management was handed over to NTNC, its role has moved beyond animal management and conservation education related functions. Today its responsibilities have extended to other important dimensions for conservation. Especially given the zoo's national capacity in wildlife rescue and treatment, animal health and research, urban environment and ex situ planning, technical capacity building, programme innovation and financial sustainability. With this experience its expectation to institutionalize and guide the many unorganized zoos operating across the country or new ones being planned in the future has become increasingly pointed.