"I have now decided to give 1 million pounds to the zoo"
Parliamentarian and leading entrepreneur Lord Swraj Paul has announced that he will be donating £1 million to London Zoo for a major new project to create the Angad Paul African Reserve in memory of his late son.
Lord Paul, the chief of the Caparo Group has a close association with London Zoo and has donated to it substantially over the years.
This donation, in particular, will aid the redevelopment of the zoo’s aviary and the surrounding area.
At an annual event held in memory of his children at London Zoo on Sunday, July 7, 2019, Lord Paul said:
“I have now decided to give 1 million pounds to the zoo for its next major project, the redevelopment of the Snowden Aviary and the surrounding area, which will be called the Angad Paul African Reserve.
The Indian born industrialist added:
“Dominic Jermey, the Director General, and the team are working very hard to open it next year.”
In 1993, the 88-year-old helped and saved London Zoo from bankruptcy by donating £1 million to develop a new children’s zoo section which was in the memory of his late daughter Ambika, who loved the zoo.
His daughter, born in Kolkata in 1963, died of leukaemia aged four in April 1968, after the family moved to the UK.
Speaking about her, Lord Paul said:
“In her last days, Ambika got much happiness from visiting this zoo and sharing its ambience.
“This is why a part of the zoo is appropriately named the Ambika Paul Children’s Zoo and has a special place in our hearts.”
Since that time, Lord Paul has been an ardent supporter of the zoo, a popular tourist spot in London.
His late son Angad Paul, who introduced the Caparo Group to India, got married in 2005, to his wife Michelle on the premises of London Zoo.
Angad sadly and suddenly died aged 45 in 2015.
Speaking about the importance of the zoo for family, Lord Paul said:
“In my view, the zoo is the best place for parents and children to enjoy being with each other.
“Over my 30-year association, I have enjoyed coming with my children, including holding Angad’s wedding here.”
Lord Paul has been awarded the Honorary Fellowship of Zoological Society of London (ZSL) for his “transformational gifts” towards the numerous projects curated by the society and recognising his work to “inspire, empower and inform people about wildlife and conservation”.
Gordon Brown, ex-PM of the UK and a close friend of Lord Paul, attended the event and said:
“This latest magnificent gift to the zoo is a tribute to both his daughter Ambika and son Angad and marks 25 years of hospitality and generosity and bringing people together from all over the world to be here at the zoo.
“There would be no zoo here today were it not for the fact that Swraj kept this zoo going in difficult times.”
The annual event was also attended by the Indian high commissioner to the UK Ruchi Ghanashyam and the Bangladeshi high commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem, among others.
The redesign of the zoo’s new aviary helped by Lord Paul’s donation shall be undertaken by celebrated British architect Norman Foster. He is set to transform the aviary into a walk-through enclosure.
The aviary was originally conceived by renowned British photographer Lord Snowden in the past.