Guwahati: Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), which aims to set up the world’s largest zoo in Gujarat’s Jamnagar, is gearing up to set up a wildlife rescue camp near the Kaziranga National Park.

A team of officials of RIL’s Greens Zoological Rescue and the Rehabilitation Kingdom were in Guwahati on Thursday to meet Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

After the meeting, the chief minister tweeted that the Assam government is planning to sign an MOU with the Greens Zoological Rescue and the Rehabilitation Kingdom for capacity building of vet care facilities.

Himanta Biswa Sarma said considering the rising cases of human-wildlife conflict, the Assam government is planning to set up a transit and rescue camp at Kaziranga National Park to help stray and stranded animals during the flood season.

The chief minister said in his tweet that three officers will be sent to Jamnagar to study the facilities available at Greens Zoological Rescue and the Rehabilitation Kingdom and replicate the same in Assam.

In fact, the chief minister’s tweet on the proposal of joining hands with Mukesh Ambani’s Greens Zoological Rescue and the Rehabilitation Kingdom in setting up a rescue camp at Kaziranga National Park has come as a bolt from the blue for the wildlife conservation community in Assam.

It is natural for everyone to be surprised by the proposal because India’s first scientifically managed wildlife rehabilitation and reintroduction centre already exists near the Kaziranga National Park, and has been doing an excellent job.

The Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC), was established in 2002 by the Wildlife Trust of India, in collaboration with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Government of India’s Animal Welfare Division and the Assam Forest Department.

The CWRC has always been at the forefront in rescuing and rehabilitating animals during floods, which annually sweep through the Kaziranga National Park.

The centre has handled close to 4,800 animal cases, and more than 60 percent of animals were released back to the wild.

The highly-skilled team of CWRC has the expertise to rescue, treat and rehabilitate the rescued animals back to the wild in line with the national and international guidelines.

While the Kaziranga National Park is the icon of successful wildlife conservation initiatives across India, it is unforeseen as to why the Assam government is contemplating to join hands with RIL’s Greens Zoological Rescue and the Rehabilitation Kingdom.    

Assam is always proud to have some of the finest forest officials, wildlife veterinarians and wildlife conservationists, who serve as experts across the globe.

There is absolutely no necessity for the Assam wildlife team of officials, veterinarians and conservationists to take lessons in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation from a nascent private zoo in Jamnagar.  

In fact, the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) was granted permission by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) on February 19, 2019, to set up a zoo on a 280-acre land at Moto Khavdi in Jamnagar.

The Greens Zoological Rescue and the Rehabilitation Kingdom is said to be the pet project of Anant Ambani, the youngest son of Mukesh Ambani.

Reliance Industries Limited’s private zoo has always been into controversy, especially after the Central Zoo Authority granted permission to import several endangered, vulnerable and near-threatened animals from Mexico.

Though many mainstream media outlets reported that Mukesh Ambani’s zoo will be the ‘largest in the world’, a section of wildlife conservationists refuse to buy the claim.  

According to them, the Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park in Tirupati spans over 3,000 acres. Similarly, the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai has a total area of nearly 1,500 acres.

The Nandankanan Biological Park in Bhubaneshwar spans over an area of 1,080 acres, and the Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden in Guwahati also has an area of 432 acres.

The people of Assam were not at all happy when in February 2021 a pair of Black Panthers was transferred to Mukesh Ambani’s private zoo in Jamnagar. The Assam State Zoo was reportedly the only breeding centre for black panthers in India.

Though it was claimed that Mukesh Ambani’s zoo in Jamnagar would help Assam acquire four zebras from Israel, there has been no report of the arrival of the zebras in Guwahati.  

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