Delhi Zoo is all set to get a face-lift ahead of the Commonwealth Games in October, with two air-conditioned food courts, a souvenir shop, cloak room and an ATM facility to come up under a major refurbishment plan.

The Environment Ministry, in a recent meeting, had directed the Delhi Zoo officials to come up with a modernisation plan to showcase one of the oldest zoological gardens in the country to tourists thronging the city during the mega sporting event.

“Signages, modernisation of cloak room, setting up of an ATM facility and a souvenir shop are on the cards while a proposal to construct two air-conditioned food courts inside the premises has already been finalised,” Delhi Zoo Director Anand Krishna said.

“Besides, animal enclosures will be renovated and coated with fresh paint. The cost of the project is yet to be finalised. Once it is approved and we receive funds from the ministry, we will go ahead with the plan,” he said.

B. S. Bonal, Member Secretary of Central Zoo Authority (CZA), a statutory body under the Ministry, said, “We have also suggested installing of ‘Shera’ - the mascot of Commonwealth Games - at a strategic location near the entrance gate to attract visitors.”

Located close to heritage structure ‘Purana Qila’ (Old Fort), the National Zoological Park is being seen as a good bet for the tourists are looking for a break during the ten-day sporting event beginning October 3.

Every year, more than 13 lakh people visit the zoo spread over an area of 214 acres that houses more than 1,200 birds, mammals and reptiles from countries like Africa, America, Australia and Asia.

Hippopotamus, spider monkey, African Wild Buffalo, the Gir Lion and Zebras, lion and stump tailed Macaque, Red Jungle Fowl, Hoolock Gibbon, Banteng, Emu, Axis deer, Hyenas, Fallow deer, Peafowl, Hog Dear and the Jaguar have been a major draw.

The zoo had earlier introduced six battery—operated mobile vans which visitors can use at affordable rates for intra-zoo transport.

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