Tourists brave torrential rain to get a glimpse of animals in zoo

Even as the overflowing Kanjia lake submerged the visitors’ sighting post inside the Nandankanan Zoological Park, hundreds of curious tourists braved torrential rain to get a glimpse of animals in the zoo on Friday.

Rainwater pouring in from all sides filled the Kanjia lake that spread over 100 ha of land. The lake’s water touched the Nandankanan zoo’s guesthouse and spilled over to the road near the toy train platform.

Close watch

“We have never seen Kanjia lake swelling to such an extent in recent times. Although flooding in the lake does not pose any threat to the zoo or its visitors, we are keeping a close watch on the water level,” said K. L. Purohit, assistant director of NZP, here on Friday. NZP looked like an island as low-lying areas in its surroundings were submerged by rainwater.

The torrential rain, however, did not deter tourists from visiting Nandankanan, one of India’s premier zoos.

Excitement all around

“We had planned to visit the zoo long ago, little did we know that heavy rain would occur this time around. Though we faced inconvenience in hopping from one place to another carrying umbrella, the inclement weather never dampened our excitement and inquisitiveness,” said Amrita Biswas, a visitor from West Bengal.

Ms Biswas said, “in fact the intermittent rain provided a natural setting for captive animals to enjoy the environment. Our pleasure also got multiplied seeing animals jumping in their enclosures.”

Phailin takes toll

The visitors’ inflow to NZP has drastically come down ever since Phailin hit the Odisha coast. “On the day of cyclone hitting the coast, we received nearly 700 visitors. Next day, we had closed down the zoo. Improvement was started to be seen in visitors’ inflow in the beginning of this week, but incessant rain spoiled the chances of return of normalcy,” said NZP assistant director.

Mr. Purohit said, “during this time, the NZP receives around 20,000 visitors. Now, the number of visitors coming to Nandankanan every day will be around 5,000.”