A recent trip to the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park by one of our team members resulted in not just a nostalgic trip but also an epiphany as to what if the zoo were to be converted into a safari? Read to know his musings.
The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park has been a center of attraction for every nature and animal lover since decades. Located in the lush green forests, this versatile animal house has allowed thousands to witness wildlife.
Christened after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Zoo Park had unlatched doors for public on 19 May 1977. It was one of a kind tourist spot, considering the abundantly spread forests of its time, and people loved to hang around for picnics and tours. We, as Vizagites, never forget the fun we had during school picnics to Zoo Park with buddies.
As time flew, there were quite lot of changes that materialised. The major of them was the addition of new species to the zoo family. White tigers, giraffes, rhinoceros, chimpanzees and many different birds and nocturnal creatures joined the family to entice more tourists.
The nocturnal animal den was good entertainment in the early days of change. To keep the visitor flow in tab, a very beautiful butterfly garden and aquarium too were built inside.
The only not-so-good change was the replacement of our beloved Toy Train with some battery car (golf carts to be precise) that screamed technology over fun. Now, we don’t naturally come to see technological advancements in the zoo, unless it is for the betterment of animals. That little toy train was so much fun for both kids and adults, but somehow due to lack of proper revenue generation, it was uprooted.
Also, now there is free Wi-Fi provided inside to allow tourists have internet connectivity, since the place is mostly isolated from any telephone towers whatsoever. Nevertheless, through all the improvements, has any of it mentioned concern towards animals and their condition? Apparently NO!
Speaking of animals, it is not that they face malnutrition, but there have been days when the zoo has faced shortage of funds, leading to insufficient food. Though the majestic White Tiger never lacked attention, many other animals sometimes looked pathetic, due to lack of proper food and nutrition.
However that didn’t last forever since, with all the improvements mentioned, there is some proper revenue being generated – hence more food and services to animals. Today we are happy to see IGZP have enough funding for the goodwill of its animals. Yet, there are some flaws within the caretaking committee, directing to illegitimate utilisation of money towards welfare of animals, i.e. even after getting good revenues from tourists and adopters, there are animals like the lion and Bengal tiger, which look thin and feeble.
While this is only the tip of an ice berg, the major issue is the way these animals are being closed in cells/tight enclosures and given limited space; whereas they need open regions to wander unreservedly and not feel like captured. Animals feel spirited only when left free in a wide area over tightly closed enclosures.
There is a solution for this though! Visakhapatnam Zoo Park has more than 600 acres of land (with mountains on three sides) that can easily accommodate for a Wildlife Safari Park. Now if you ask what exactly is this Wildlife Safari Park and how is it different to our Zoo Park? Read on!!
A Wildlife Safari park is typically a bigger Zoo Park with people usually being taken in protected or shielded vehicles into wildlife habitats, where the beasts and other animals would walk and fly around free enabling you to enjoy a closer look of their beauty and living style. This way both people and animals are entertained for providing a fantastic heart thumping view and adequate area respectively. The animals will never again feel like being arrested inside cages. Instead they will wander in utter happiness. Also a jungle-like-feel will attract more tourists in comparison to a common Zoo Park.
An adventurous Tiger and Lion Safari with a huge bird forest will definitely elevate the overall experience. Other herbivore animals however can be put in one large area so they don’t prey on each other. Like Nandankanan Zoological Park (Bhubaneswar) and Ranthambore National Park (Rajasthan), even our beloved IGZP can gain national attention, given the Government brings propound changes.
It is known that a lot of infrastructural changes must be brought for transforming Zoo Park into Safari Park with adequate netting and security provision round the clock to intercept animals from invading human habitats. Vizag Zoo Park if transformed into Animal Safari will make it a hot spot all around AP generating much higher revenues with tourists from within the country and even outside the nation.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and might not necessarily reflect the view of Yo! Vizag.