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Delhi zoo: CZA recommends capacity-building programme for 'demotivated' animal keepers

Delhi zoo: CZA recommends capacity-building programme for 'demotivated' animal keepers

(Eds: Updating) New Delhi, Sep 17 (PTI) The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has recommended starting a capacity-development programme for Delhi zoo's "very demotivated" animal keepers, a senior official said on Tuesday.The CZA has also proposed roping in more interns and volunteers for assistance, the official said, adding it has also recommended sending the animal keepers to other zoos to learn the best practices.The zoo has been in news recently over a large number of animal deaths which has impacted the morale of the employees. The overall staff strength has come down from 350 to 80. There are only 20 animal keepers left in the zoo, the official claimed.According to officials, staff shortage has also affected the functioning of the zoo. The zoo has lost around 10 species of animals, including chinkara, cassowary and ostrich, and 27 animal species do not have a mating partner."A lot is happening in the zoo and the situation doesn't inspire confidence. The animal keepers are feeling very demotivated. There's an urgent need to organise a capacity-development programme for them every three months."Instructions have been issued in this regard. The programme will feature the best practices of zoos across the country," CZA Member-Secretary S P Yadav said. Elaborating on the internship programme, Yadav said the zoo will not pay the volunteers but will provide accommodation. "Anyone who loves and cares for wildlife can apply to become a volunteer. For internship, applicants should be students of veterinary colleges and have some background knowledge," he said.A Delhi zoo official, however, said there's a severe shortage of staff in the zoo and volunteers and interns cannot make up for it."Earlier, the animal section had around 80 employees. Now less than 30, including attendants and gangmen, are left. One cannot expect volunteers and interns to do the work of regular staff," the official said. PTI GVS PR NSDNSD