Hyderabad: The zoo has always been a favourite destination for family picnics, school excursions and other outings. Sadly, people leave behind imprints of their visits in the form of litter and pollution.
From littering to smoking, some visitors do it all. This has become a real challenge for the zoo authorities. They have tried to curb such actions by imposing heavy fines, but have not been very successful. So now they have a new plan, community service. We have heard of community service at schools and on the roads, etc. But this is probably the first time a zoo is incorporating such a novel concept.
So what made the authorities come up with such a plan? “We’ve always tried to educate people about keeping the zoo clean. We have had posters put up too. Despite that there are a few people who litter the place or even smoke there. Smoking in a zoo or a national park is an offence and under the Wildlife Act, offenders can be penalised too,” says the curator, B.N.N. Murthy.
As part of the new rule, offenders will either pay a fine of upto Rs 2,000 or could be asked to clean up litter in the zoo. Murthy explains, “The idea behind the community service rule is not to punish, but to make people realise the importance of keeping the zoo clean. We just want people to know and understand the problems we face in maintaining the zoo,” he adds.
Murthy strongly feels that community service will be much more helpful than a simple fine. “When it comes to a fine, people usually pay the money and that’s the end of it. Through this idea, we hope to sensitise people about the importance of maintaining ecological balance in a wildlife zone.”
This community service idea is still in the testing phase and the authorities want to wait and see the change it will bring.