The annual economic value of ecosystem services provided by the Delhi zoo works out to be ₹426 crore, an assessment by the The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and commissioned by the Central Zoo Authority has found.
These ‘ecosystem services’ constitute heads such as biodiversity conservation, employment generation, education and research, carbon sequestration and recreational and cultural contributions. When one-time ecosystem services are considered, such as carbon storage, the surrogate value of land and land value of Delhi zoo, their contribution climbs to nearly ₹55,209 crore, says the report released by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday.
The ‘first-of-its-kind’ study in India gave a “powerful baseline assessment” of the important ecosystem services provided by the zoo. “The way forward is to have an in-depth valuation of those ecosystem services which are not being valued due to limited time and resource,” the report notes.
These estimates could be used to compute value provided by zoos across India.
To commemorate World Wildlife Week, Mr. Javadekar said the government was working towards upgrading and developing 160 zoos in the PPP mode.
The researchers found the number of visitors to Delhi zoo had increased with 20 lakh tourists visiting every year. Costs incurred on travel (distance cost), along with the entrance fee, time spent were adjusted for when estimating the value of recreational service. “The survey revealed that the average per day income of the tourists visiting the zoo is ₹655. The per-head average transportation amounted to ₹428.”