Uncertainty surrounding the operation of the VOC park zoo maintained by the Corporation continues and the city is on the verge of losing its prominent place of attraction because of lack of proper infrastructure.
Started in 1965, the 4.5 acre zoo was one of the hotspots for entertainment for the city residents.
K. Venkataraman, a resident of Vadavalli, said that once the zoo had animals such as lions, tigers, and bears. People came in large numbers to visit the zoo. Citing the infrastructure and maintenance issues, the Central Zoo Authority cancelled the recognition in January 2022, and the zoo remains shut for visitors since then. If the zoo administration gets transferred to the Forest Department, the civic body will lose the tag of being one of the few urban local bodies in the country to run a zoo.
A Corporation official said the civic body has been spending ₹3.5 lakh a month for the maintenance of the zoo. This includes the cost of food for the animals and the salary of 13 workers who were employed for the zoo maintenance. Currently, the zoo houses nearly 528 species, including reptiles, mammals, and birds. The zoo has sambar deer, spotted deer, crocodiles, snakes, ducks, and parakeets in good numbers, said the official.
Corporation Commissioner M. Prathap said, “The civic body does not have enough expertise to run the zoo, and we will not be able to run it in the future as well. The current location does not have enough space available to provide buffer zones according to the norms laid down by the Central Zoo Authority. A letter in this regard was forwarded to the Central Zoo Authority by the Secretary of Municipal Administration and Water Supply. Any further decision will be taken by the Zoo Authority,” he added.