Not leopard; Baramati to now get wildlife Safari - Hindustan Times
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Not leopard; Baramati to now get wildlife Safari

ByGayatri Vajpeyee
Nov 10, 2023 05:48 AM IST

The forest department’s decision to begin a wildlife Safari in Baramati tehsil assumes significance, coming as it does after much controversy around the project

After the successful implementation of the grassland Safari in Baramati tehsil, the forest department has decided to start a wildlife Safari at Gadikhel village, also in Baramati tehsil, where Nature lovers can see five different species of wildlife including leopards. The forest department has recently appointed an architect to design the wildlife Safari and the actual work is expected to begin early next year, said officials from the department.

Three species of wildlife have been finalised for the Safari. These include animals from the cat and dog families such as leopards. (HT PHOTO)
Three species of wildlife have been finalised for the Safari. These include animals from the cat and dog families such as leopards. (HT PHOTO)

The forest department’s decision to begin a wildlife Safari in Baramati tehsil assumes significance, coming as it does after much controversy around the project. Recently when deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar expressed his desire to start the much-awaited leopard Safari in Baramati, a Shiv Sena MLA from Junnar threatened to undertake a fast until death as the leopard Safari had been originally declared in Junnar tehsil. Subsequently, chief minister Eknath Shinde intervened and declared that the leopard Safari would be started in Junnar tehsil only as had been originally decided. Ever since, the decision on the Baramati Safari project has been pending. And now, the forest department has come up with the plan to begin a wildlife Safari in Baramati.

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About the current status of the wildlife Safari, Mahadev Mohite, deputy conservator of forests (DCF), said, “Recently, the forest department appointed an architect to prepare a plan of execution for the wildlife safari. Ashfaq Ahmad, the architect who prepared the DPR for the Gorewada Wildlife Safari in Nagpur has also been appointed for the wildlife Safari project in Baramati. Finalisation of the plan, funds’ allocation, and other work will take at least three to four months and the actual work is expected to start in March or April.”

“The animals being kept on display will be relocated from other parts of the state. Mainly those animals suited to grassland ecosystems will be considered for this Safari. As of now, three species of wildlife have been finalised for the Safari. These include animals from the cat and dog families such as leopards, hyenas, wolves and indigenous bird species. The other two categories are yet to be finalised,” Mohite said.

There have been talks to include tigers in the five species of wildlife on display in the Safari. While the plan was to relocate tigers in the maneater category or those that require lifetime care (mostly from Vidarbha), the forest department could not reach a decision. The department is now exploring options for the two other species involved.

Details of the wildlife Safari

The wildlife Safari is planned at Gadikhel village in Baramati

Total area - 250 to 300 hectares

Number of wildlife species on display - five

Species from dog and cat families, and indigenous bird species included

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