There can be nothing more exhilarating than a brush with nature and children especially learn a lot when they are closest to the elements. India especially has a special connection with the animals and if one looks closely, every aspect of art, architecture, religious art and even literature have been inextricably linked to animals. Do you remember the tales of the Panchatantra? Or the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, and other notable stories of mythology, where animals play not just a key part, but sometimes the pivotal part in the stories?
Yen Martel, the notable author of Life of Pi, had said that India had a special connection with its animals, which sets them apart from others. Well, as much as we would like, urban Indians do not get a chance to get up close and personal with the animals in general, though rural Indians do have a brush with them from time to time. Hence, the urban Indians only have the zoological parks to look forward to and some of them are of international repute.
6 Most Famous Zoological Parks in India
- Nadankanan Zoological Park, Orissa
- Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, West Bengal
- Sakkarbaug Zoological Park, Gujarat
- Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden, Karnataka
- The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, Andhra Pradesh
- Assam State Zoo and Zoological Garden, Assam
1. Nadankanan Zoological Park, Orissa
Situated in the city of Bhubaneshwar, Nandankanan is a zoo of international repute which is known especially for breeding black panthers, white tigers and gharials in captivity. The zoo is known for its animal safari rides within the sprawling complex. One of the most striking features of the park is that it is not just a zoological garden, but a botanical garden as well, and there are innumerable species of flora and fauna to be found here. The zoo receives more than 2 million visitors each year and is the first Indian zoo to join the World Association of Zoos and Aquarium.
2. Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, West Bengal
Established in 1958 in the hill city of Darjeeling, the zoo is the largest high altitude zoo in India. It serves as the central hub for the red panda program of Central Zoo Authority of India and has notable contribution for breeding in captivity the endangered Himalayan wolf, red panda and snow leopard. The Massive Tibetan Wolf can also be seen here, along with blood pheasant, Siberian tigers, Himalayan salamander and blue sheep and Himalayan monal. These animals prefer the cold and the high altitude and it is almost impossible to see them in any other zoo in India, situated in the plains, which is why the zoo holds special attractions.
3. Sakkarbaug Zoological Park, Gujarat
Those who want to have a view of the endangered Asiatic lion, have to visit this zoo in Junagarh to do so. It also happens to be one of the oldest Indian zoos, established in 1863. The numbers of Asiatic Lions had dwindled all over the continent and it is almost impossible to see them in the wild anymore. They have been however, successfully and purely bred in captivity in this zoo. The zoo also houses a natural history museum and veterinary hospital. It also happens to be the only zoo that houses African cheetahs.
4. Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden, Karnataka
Care to adopt a wild animal and look after its well being? Then this is where you should be headed towards. Popularly known as the Mysore Zoo, the zoo premises are situated quite close to the Mysore palace gardens. There was time when the zoo mainly had to depend on the entry fees for the care and maintenance of the animals and the premises, but they later went for an adoption program, where celebrities, animal lovers and charities could adopt an animal and finance for it. Apart from being a ground of refuge for many species, this zoo is also notable for providing conservation education and plays a special role in the rescue and rehabilitation of wild life and animals. Notable animals here are the white rhinoceros, baboon, giraffes and five green anacondas, which have been a contribution from the Colombo Zoo.
5. The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, Andhra Pradesh
How about a trip to the Eastern Ghats of India and have a spectacular view of gorgeous animals in its backdrop? Situated in the city of Vishakhapatnam, the zoo happens to be the third largest in the country and has been named after the former prime minister of India. The Eastern Ghats provide a scenic backdrop to this zoo, which has a lush environment, and animals mostly roam free inside large enclosures which have ample greenery, to give them the best possible natural surroundings. This zoo, apart from the animals, is also mostly noted for its collection of birds, with Egyptian vultures, blue and yellow macaws, parakeet, emu, budgerigar and painted stork.
6. Assam State Zoo and Zoological Garden, Assam
Do you wish to visit a zoo which is situated right in the middle of reserved forest land, so as to capture the essence of wild life as much as possible? Well, you can experience it in the city of Guwahati. The zoo is located within the Hengrabari Reserved Forest and is home to about a whopping 895 birds and animals, with 113 species from around the world. It is also one of the largest zoos in the north- eastern parts of the country. Chimpanzees, black and white rhinos, kangaroos from Australia, puma and jaguar from South America and the famous one horned Indian rhinoceros can be found here. As a botanical garden, the zoo premises are also home to many exotic plants. The zoo has a very successful Animal Adoption Scheme as well.
While there are many who are still opposed to the idea of animals being kept in captivity, it cannot be denied that this is the best chance that some of the animal species have in terms of survival. The conditions in the wild and the dangers of poaching have already dwindled the numbers and the zoos in India are doing a remarkable job of keeping the species safe and alive, so that the future generations do not miss out on seeing them.
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