BY DEBAJYOTI CHAKRABORTY
KOLKATA, 18 SEPTEMBER
In this festive season awards and accolades are showing upon West Bengal it seems, as two zoos of the state have been ranked in the top four best zoos in the country, in the first ever ranking system introduced for zoological parks in India.
The red panda famed Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling, which is also the largest high altitude zoo in India has topped the list of best zoos in the country and Alipore Zoological Garden in Kolkata has been ranked fourth.
Arinagar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai has been ranked second and Sri Chamnendra Zoological Gardens in Mysore has been ranked third.
There are over 150 zoos in the country and the Central Zoo Authority, the apex body of Zoos in India, released the list in Bhubaneswar in Odisha a few days ago at the zoo director’s conference.
“We have received the highest percentage of 83 are are elated and the credit goes to all the staff of the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park ,” said Basavaraj Holeyachi, Director.
Mr. Jyotipriya Mullick, forest minister of West Bengal thanked all the concerned zoo authorities in the state for such performances and said that it is a matter of pride that three zoos- Darjeeling, Alipore and Jhargram have secured such high ranking by the CZA assessments.
The Central Zoo Authority has laid several criterias for the aseshments of the zoos which includes animal health, natural ambiences and enclosures, visitors outreach, medical treatment facilities, cleanliness, funds positions etc.
THE PADMAJA NAIDU HIMALAYAN ZOOLOGICAL PARK :
This is the only specialized Zoo in the country and is internationally recognized for its conservation breeding programmes of Red Panda, Snow Leopards, Tibetan Wolf and other highly endangered animal species of Eastern Himalaya.
It was formerly known as Himalayan Zoological Park and was established on 14th August, 1958 in Darjeeling (West Bengal) as a joint venture of Govt. of India (Department of Science and Technology) and Govt. of West Bengal (Department of Education). In January, 1972, the Park was converted into a registered Society under West Bengal Societies Registration Act, 1961 with an understanding that the maintenance cost of the zoo will be shared by the Center and State Governments. The Society in May, 1993 was transferred to the Department of Forests, Govt. of West Bengal. At the Govt. of India level the Zoological Park is under the Ministry of Environment and Forests. In 1975, Late Smt. Indira Gandhi the then Prime Minister of India dedicated the Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling in Memory of Late Smt. Padmaja Naidu, ex-governor of West Bengal. The Zoo was re-named as Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park.
HOW TO REACH :
AREA – 67.56 acres
ALTITUDE – 7000 Ft. (2150 Mts) approx (above msl.)
LOCATION – Birch Hill (Jawahar Parbat.)
TEMPERATURE – 20ºC to 26ºC highest and 10ºC to 5ºC lowest.
DISTANCE – It is 85 Km. from Bagdogra Airport. The Railway Junction New Jalpaiguri is also the same distance and it is connected with all the major cities and towns of the country.
The Zoological Garden, Alipore (also informally called the Alipore Zoo or Kolkata Zoo) is India’s oldest formally stated zoological park (as opposed to royal and British menageries) and a big tourist attraction in Kolkata, West Bengal. It has been open as a zoo since 1876, and covers 18.811 ha (46.48 acres). It is probably best known as the home of the Aldabra giant tortoise Adwaita, who was reputed to have been over 250 years old when he died in 2006. It is also home to one of the few captive breeding projects involving the Manipur brow-antlered deer. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Kolkata, it draws huge crowds during the winter season, especially during December and January. The highest attendance till date was on January 1, 2018 with 110,000 visitors.