Meghalaya state zoo
Views of the foundation laying ceremony for the first Meghalaya state zoo. Image credit - Twitter @SangmaConrad

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K. Sangma on Tuesday laid the foundation stone for Meghalaya’s first state zoo at Umtrew in Ri-Bhoi district.

Chief minister Sangma hoped the zoo would be able to provide safe and secure environment for the rescued animals besides the people of the state would get the opportunity to have a glimpse of the diversity of the state’s rich flora and fauna.

Chief minister Sangma tweeted: “Laid foundation stone for Meghalaya’s first State Zoo at Umtrew in Ri-Bhoi.”

“I am sure that this Zoo will provide safe & secure environment for rescued animals & will give an opportunity for the people to peep into the rich fauna diversity of the State,” he further tweeted.

The foundation laying ceremony of the state zoo was organized as part of the valedictory programme of the Wildlife Week 2019.

The programme was also attended by Meghalaya minister for forests & environment Lahkmen Rymbui.

While speaking at the programme, chief minister Conrad Sangma said, “As citizens we have the responsibility to keep balance while moving forward with the changing times.”

The chief minister also said Meghalaya is a state richly blessed with diversity in flora and fauna and that it is the duty of everyone to protect and conserve this biodiversity.

He hoped that the zoo would be a place where the people especially the children will get a chance to see the wildlife of the state while learning to take care and respect these animals.

Conrad Sangma also said the zoo should not only be a place of entertainment but a centre of learning, respecting, protecting, rescue and conservation of wildlife.

He lamented, “It’s sad to see that people still go for hunting and I hope this zoo will change the mindset of the people that the forests also belong to the animals who are a part of the biodiversity.”

The chief minister expressed his happiness at the people handing over rescued animals to the forest department.

He tweeted: “It is really encouraging to witness that our people have shown utmost care for the animals, rescued them and handed them to the Forest Dept.”

On the occasion of the Wildlife Week celebration, the chief minister honoured a few persons with Samaitan Award for showing utmost care for animals.

“It is my honour to felicitate them with Samaritan Award at the valedictory function of Wildlife Week,” the CM tweeted.

He also presented mementos to children who joined different competitions organized as part of the Wildlife Week celebrations.

Informing this, the CM tweeted: “Handed over mementos to children who participated in different competitions organised to observe Wildlife Week.”

“It is important for our children to understand nature. By inculcating environmental consciousness, our children can become ambassadors of nature,” he added.

Addressing the gathering, Meghalaya forests & environment minister Lakhmen Rymbui said the land of 72 hectares for the state zoo was acquired in 2001.

The Central Zoo Authority has given its approval for the zoo which will have eight enclosures.

Rymbui hoped that the state zoo would be completed by January 2022.

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