I stand for animals & I OBJECT the construction of ZOO in Aarey Forest, Mumbai

The battle to Save Aarey Forest from the The Mumbai Metro 3 Car shed is all too familiar. But what is not known by many is that Aarey has been continuously sought to be exploited since many decades now. This unique biotope is under threat, not just from the Mumbai Metro 3 car shed, but also from a number of other projects that are vying to find space within the Aarey Forest.

The Aarey Forest is also home to a large tribal population. There are 27 padas within Aarey and the tribal way of life is under severe threat due to the onslaught of ‘development projects’ that are making way into Forest Land. Some of these tribal families, have in fact, been forcibly moved to SRA projects which has in turn become a cause for immense suffering for these families.

The proposed Zoo is one of the latest projects that is doing just that – destroying the forest and uprooting tribal settlements. We strongly feel that forests must be treated as protected areas and no developmental projects of any kind must be allowed in them. It’s important for us tax payers to note that in just 2 months time the area proposed for the Zoo in Aarey Forest increased to double size (from 100 acres to 240 acres)!

Please read the petition below to learn more about why this Zoo is being protested by tribals and non tribal mumbaikars alike. The draft is made ready to send across your objections/suggestions to the CM and other related ministries. LONG PRESS the green button for the draft letter to open in your mailbox. You are free to edit if you wish.

Photo Credit: Ranjeet Jadhav

Dear Sir / Ma’am,

The government must really believe that people are profoundly stupid to try and convince us of such a project. With the dismal track record of the high mortality rates at Byculla Zoo, you are talking about conservation through breeding in a zoo!

While we are already at 1.2°C of global temperature rise above pre-industrial level and projecting for a scary number, you think we aren’t aware of IPCC reports, and the Paris agreement. You think you can get away with cutting a mature forest which is the lung of the city. You think you can fool us by talking about planting saplings while you keep granting permission for forests to be mined or for infrastructure in the name of development for the last man. You think we do not know saplings need to survive for decades before they become capable of sequestering as much carbon as mature forests, and really keep temperatures from rising. New saplings obviously can’t act as catchment zones for water replenishment nor can they be the home ground for diverse bio-diversities.

You think you can keep barging onto the lands of indigenous people for the gains of a few, while the city has a massive inventory of unoccupied flats and of un-housed people. There can’t be a mentality more apathetic to our own kind!

You think you can wash up a pro-developmental image for yourselves by only talking about global media-centric ideas like the bullet train and the coastal road but won’t talk about the state of the drainage system, air quality, and open space per person in the city.

Is a zoo the best way to achieve conservation and to educate humans about wildlife? How is it conservation if all the animals bred live in captivity and lack the superior survival instincts it takes to adapt and thrive in the wild? What are the lives they would lead if intimate and personal aspects of their individuality like partner selection are stolen from them? Is it so difficult for us to realize that zoos are an epitome of Animal Rights’ violation?

Can we afford to cut forests given the alarming state of Carbon Particles Per Million and considering the latent heat effect of carbon dioxide? Is it in the best interest of our future generations? Or the current ones for that matter? Why does our law allow for building a zoo in an eco-sensitive zone? Why does our law allow opening up the last remains of green-space in the city for commercial developments with a zoo as a starting point? Does the government really believe people can’t see through this?

You need to put across an assessment of economic value that should be assigned to the biodiversity in the forest and thousands of trees which are decades and centuries old. We CANNOT let the government make a zoo on tax payers’ money only to free up space for real estate builders in Byculla, which is speculated to be one of Asia’s hottest growth zones.
Leaders, how do you expect us to believe you when you try to propose that a better biodiversity will flourish in a zoo, made for human entertainment, than in an actual forest? Are we really smarter than nature in terms of creating and replicating life conducive conditions for animals? Decisions like cutting primary forests which act as our water catchment areas and are carbon sequestering tools clearly indicate otherwise. The government is made up of elected members who have been given guardianship of public lands and not ownership to those lands to do as they please.

So, kindly CANCEL the MoU signed between MCGM and Forest Department and declare Aarey Forest as a protected forest at the earliest to stop further deforestation and encroachment.


Putting out this letter was critical but we all need to be ready for GROUND ACTION to clearly put across to the leaders that we can’t afford this folly of theirs.

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