At least 58 animals of nine species, including zebra and deer, were brought over from Gazipur Safari Park
The Sylhet Wildlife Conservation Centre will officially open for visitors on Friday.
The centre has been built on the premises of Tilagarh Eco Park, located in the suburbs of Sylhet city.
Confirming the matter, Sylhet Divisional Forest Officer RSM Monirul Islam said: “Bangladesh's former permanent representative to the United Nations Dr AK Abdul Momen, among other guests, will inaugurate the conservation centre around 4pm on Friday.”
He maintained that visitors would have to pay only a nominal price for tickets to enter.
The forest officer said: “The centre has been built on an eight-acre plot of land. On early Tuesday morning, nine species of animals, including two zebras, were brought from Gazipur Safari Park to Tilagarh Eco Park.”
“Among them were: two deer, 12 peacocks, four African grey parrots, a golden pheasant, three silver pheasants, three macaw birds, four sun conures, one boa constrictor and 30 small love birds. Two more deer will be added next week, and a tiger will be brought in December,” he said.
From October until January, the centre will remain open from 9am to 4:30pm, and from February until September, it will be open from 9am to 5:30pm for visitors, Monirul Islam added.
He said: “There are two main objectives of launching the Wildlife Conservation Centre. Firstly, it is for the enjoyment of the visitors. Secondly, there are many wild animals that get injured in different places in Sylhet. Our aim is to give them proper medical treatment.”
Md Anisur Rahman, president of an animal rights and biodiversity conservation organization named Pradhikar, of Sylhet Agricultural University, said: “There are no facilities that can provide treatment to injured animals. We usually treat them and release them into the forest. This problem will stop once the centre opens.”
About Tilagarh Eco Park
According to sources from the Sylhet Forest Division, the construction work for Tilagarh Eco Park began in 2006. Around Tk1.18 crore was spent during the phase of building this park on 112-acres of land.
In October 3, 2012, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock decided to build the third government zoo of Bangladesh in Sylhet. On November 9, the then State Minister of Fisheries and Livestock visited the proposed area for the zoo in the Tilagarh Eco Park.
On June, 2016, after planning the project, the Sylhet Wildlife Conservation Centre was handed over to the Forest Department's Sylhet Divisional office.
Wildlife conservation centre project
According to the Bangladesh Forest Department, around Tk80 lakh worth of animals, such as tigers, zebras and peacocks, were bought when the construction work for the conservation centre first started. They were kept in the Gazipur Safari Park for six years. They could not be brought to Sylhet as the construction work for the centre was not yet completed.
Meanwhile, the construction of 11 sheds for animals in the Tilagarh Eco Park was completed during the tenure of the project. Hospitals and rehabilitation centres were also built for the animals that would live in the sheds, and for any injured animals that were brought in.
Related sources said more animals would be brought to the zoo, such as: lions, bears, langur monkeys, mongooses, Indian pangolins, civet cats, jungle cats, foxes, Bengal foxes, rhinoceroses, Asian elephants, migratory and aquatic birds, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, different species of monkeys, and nilgai antelope.
There will also be animals brought from Nepal, South Africa, Australia and Saudi Arabia.
At least 40 species of animals will be bought for this project, among which there will both rare and new kinds of animals for the region.
Additionally, modern equipment will be purchased from the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany to maintain medical and food standards for animal health and various services.
This zoo will be an attractive entertainment centre for the public and for students, according to the Forest Department.