NEW DELHI: One would naturally expect a zoo in the country’s capital to be a front runner in all aspects, but it is not the case with the National Zoological Park. The capital’s zoo has acquired notoriety after several deer and lizards died in the past one year and an outbreak of avian flu killed 11 birds in November.
The perception of the city zoo being prone to infections is such that other zoos are reluctant to trade animals with it under the Central Zoo Authority’s animal exchange scheme. This reluctance is why exotic animals like zebras, kangaroos and giraffes still elude Delhi Zoo.
Ironically, several zoos across the country house more number of species than that in the national capital. While Delhi Zoo has a total of 99 species, Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai, for example, has 173 species in total and gets an annual footfall of around 15 lakh. Similarly, the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Visakhapatnam has 149 species of animals and sees an average footfall of 8.6 lakh.
Though Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden in Ahmedabad has fewer species than the Delhi Zoo, it sees a footfall of 30 lakh per annum, mainly owing to the high-tech infrastructure including a Nocturnal House and water-recycling plant for house usage. However, things are not all dismal. The zoo authorities are slated to induct two new species—an ostrich and a pair of caiman—by the end of this month.