Aiming to take conservation to the mass public using modern technology, the Field Marshal Sir John Chapple Education Centre has been formally opened to the public starting from today (February 19, 2019). The new centre that includes eight digital interface kiosks and five photo panel screens along with an augmented reality screen offering fun filled activities for quizzes, wildlife knowledge and children games among others, is the latest in the Central Zoo's education and awareness facilities that looks to offer more meaningful and creative ways for attracting visitors to wildlife and conservation.
The inauguration of the centre was officially undertaken by chief guests Hon. Shakti Bahadur Basnet, Minister of Forests and Environment (MOFE) and NTNC Chairman together with His Excellency Richard Morris, British Ambassador to Nepal representing His Excellency Field Marshal Sir John Chapple. Besides the chief guests, other special guests at the event included Dr. Bishwa Nath Oli, MOFE Secretary, Ms. Jane Loveless from UK NTNC, and Mr. Jyoti Prakash Pandey, CEO of Nepal Investment Bank (NIBL). The centre has been built under the support of NIBL.
Speaking at the occasion, both the Hon. Minister Basnet and HE Ambassador Morris expressed honor and satisfaction about the new facility. A short video message from Sir John Chapple passing his heartfelt gratitude and congratulations for the education centre, and to all those working hard to make a valuable difference for conservation in Nepal was shared. Minister Basnet recalled about the time he met Sir John last year at a conference on illegal wildlife trade in the UK, recollecting how "his love for wildlife conservation and for Nepal was truly amazing." Taking to Sir John's inspiration, Ambassador Morris reflected about how the revered Field Marshal had come to build his relationship with Nepal, starting when after he had very early in his army service joined the 2nd Gurkha Rifles. Besides being on the main Board of Trustee during NTNC's early days, Sir John's passion for Nepal and conservation emanates from his distinguished presence he continues to hold in reputed institutions and organizations around the world, including still being Chairman of UK NTNC, and trustee of the Gurkha Museum in London.
Since the management of the Central Zoo by NTNC in 1995, it has envisaged to establish itself as a centre for excellence in wildlife care and education. To develop itself at par with the quality of modern zoos across the globe, NTNC-Central Zoo focuses on animal management and welfare, conservation education, visitor satisfaction and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation as its four core pillars. "Using interactive audio-visual technology, the new education centre is expected to be a major stepping stone to advancing the conservation education programme of the zoo which receives more than one million visitors annually and has 8000 FOZ members (a school based membership program)," Dr. Chiranjibi Pokheral, Central Zoo Manager shared at the programme.