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Updated: May 25, 2014 22:42 IST

‘Our focus on sanitation, adding animals have led to rise in visitors to the zoo’

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P. Mallikarjuna Rao Director of State Zoos
The Hindu P. Mallikarjuna Rao Director of State Zoos

The zoo has added 90 animals representing 36 different species in last couple of years including giraffe, cheetah, lions, marmosets and so on. As of now, we have 1,400 specimens from 160 different species – P. Mallikarjuna Rao Director of State Zoos

Despite the emergence of several alternative options for recreation in the city, the Nehru Zoological Park continues to retain its old charm. In fact, the number of visitors has only risen, crossing the 3-million mark last year and setting a record in the zoo’s history.

“Improvement in amenities for visitors, focus on cleanliness and addition of new animals have helped visitors return here, and also in adding new patrons,” Director of State Zoos P. Mallikarjuna Rao tells T. LALITH SINGH.

How is the visitors’ response?

The Nehru Zoo played host to more than 30 lakh visitors during 2013-14, which is 10 per cent higher than the previous year, and almost 70 per cent more than the figure in 2009-10. The number of visitors rose at a considerable rate in the last three years. We first crossed the 2-million-visitor mark, and then last year achieved 3-million. At times, the number of visitors crosses 40,000 a day, and that is a reflection of the increased patronage.

What is being done to improve the zoo?

We had come up with a series of measures: our first priority was sanitation. We can now proudly say that the premises sports a much cleaner look. There has been an effort to increase the greenery. The whole of the 380 acres has been given close attention, and a lot of new green spaces have come up with the addition of trees, plants and lawnsadding a more natural ambience.

How many new animals have been added?

In terms of adding species, we have done a lot. Apart from other States, animals were also received from four countries – Czech Republic, Malaysia, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The zoo has added 90 animals representing 36 different species in last couple of years including giraffe, cheetah, lions, marmosets and so on. As of now, we have 1,400 specimens from 160 different species.

What are the other facilities at the zoo?

A redone Natural History Museum, an amphitheatre, bioscope apart, we have introduced the concept of zoning: we have the Reptile Zone, Carnivore Corner, Lion Junction, Bears Bay and Aqua World. At the Jurassic Park, we added one more life-size dinosaur model to the three that were there earlier and introduced an educational trail with a series of information boards.

Does the zoo face problem of pollution?

There have been issues of polluted water flowing in from the adjoining Mir Alam Tank but the Effluent Treatment Plant set up by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority has helped reduce it to large extent. As far as air pollution inside the zoo is concerned, we are taking steps to deter entry of personal vehicles. The car entry fee has been hiked to Rs.1,000. At the same time, 35 battery-operated vehicles have been added, and bicycles, which are available at a deposit of Rs.100 and a charge of Rs.20 per hour, are a also hit with the visitors.

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