Are you an animal lover, but don’t have a pet at home? Worry not. Those who’ve had childhood dreams of staying back at the zoo for the love of animals and to learn more about them have now been given that very opportunity by the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park at Vizag.
Be it a student, professional, or a senior citizen, any animal lover can now volunteer some of their free time at the animal enclosures to learn interesting facts about the animals and help spread the word.
The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park with more than 800 animals in 75 different species, is taken care of by animal keepers at every enclosure. Owing to the animal keepers’ lack of good communication skills and in-depth information about each animal, the volunteers will be taking on the job of interacting with the visitors.
Not limited to only taking photographs, the visitors will now be taught more about the animals, giving them a lot to think about before they leave.
What began in March 2016, now has about 50 volunteers, primarily engineering and school students, about 20 of them have been given ID cards to enter the zoo. One might wonder how the volunteers would find the time despite their busy schedules, but this opportunity only requires weekends from 10 am-4 pm.
“Once we introduced these volunteers, we could see a change in perspective in the visitors walking through each enclosure.
Many who visit the zoo are unaware of the behavioural changes and habits of the animals. These facts are explained to the volunteers, which in turn are shared with the visitors.
Besides, they also make sure that the walking areas are neatly maintained, without plastic strewn around,” says the zoo curator, B Vijay Kumar, adding, “These volunteers also monitor the visitors, especially children, preventing them from climbing the enclosure boundaries and throwing food for the animals, thus making the experience fun and safe for all.”