Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park

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Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park
Date opened 14 March 1999[1]
Location Pune, India
Coordinates 18°27′10″N 73°51′40″E / 18.4529061°N 73.8611752°E / 18.4529061; 73.8611752Coordinates: 18°27′10″N 73°51′40″E / 18.4529061°N 73.8611752°E / 18.4529061; 73.8611752
Land area 130 acres (53 ha)[1]
Number of animals 362[1]
Memberships CZA[2]
Website www.punezoo.gov.in

The Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, commonly known as the Rajiv Gandhi Zoo, is located in Katraj near the city of Pune in India. It is managed by the Pune Municipal Corporation. The 130-acre (53 ha) zoo is divided into three parts: an animal orphanage, a snake park, and a zoo, and includes the 42-acre (17 ha) Katraj Lake.

History[edit]

Peacock at the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park

In 1953 the Pune Municipal Corporation created Peshwe Park on about 7 acres (2.8 ha) where Madhavrao Peshwe had established a private menagerie in 1770. Located in the heart of the city at the base of Parvati Hill, this zoo exhibited animals in traditional cages.[1]

In 1986, Mr. Neelam Kumar Khaire (the first director of the park), with assistance from the Pune Municipal Corporation, created the Katraj Snake Park on land that was to become the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park.[3]

In 1997, in order to create a more modern zoo in accordance with the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority of India, the municipality selected a site in Katraj and started developing a new zoo. The zoo opened in 1999 as the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park & Wildlife Research Centre, and initially included only the reptile park, sambars, spotted deer, and monkeys. Although it took until 2005, all of the animals from Peshwe Park were eventually moved to the new site, and Peshwe Park was closed.[1]

The park also incorporates a rescue centre for injured and orphaned animals. It has run an animal adoption scheme since October 2010.[4]

Animals[edit]

Russells viper in the park
Russell's-Viper-India

The zoo has collections of reptiles, mammals, and birds. Among mammals, the zoo has a white tiger and a male Bengal tiger named Tanaji. Other mammals at the zoo include leopard, sloth bears, sambhars, barking deer, blackbucks, monkeys, and elephants. Reptiles include Indian rock python, cobra, snakes, vipers, and Indian crocodiles. Amphibians such as Indian star tortoise and birds such as peafowl also feature.

Leopard at the park
Duck at the park
White tiger at the park

The snake park has a large collection of snakes, reptiles, birds and turtles. There are over 22 species of snakes with 10 species of reptiles comprising more than 150 individuals. This includes a 13-foot-long king cobra. Information about the snakes is provided in Braille, as well as more conventional formats, and the park includes a library. The snake park has organized many snake festivals and snake awareness programs to clarify doubts and destroy fears about snakes. During Nag Panchami, the park arranges programs to discourage ill-treatment of snakes.

Future plans[edit]

This zoo has plans to house lions,[5] hyenas, foxes, barking deer, nilgais, lesser cats, jungle cats, rusty spotted cats, mouse deer and Indian giant squirrels (shekru).[6] An ex-situ breeding centre is planned by the zoo.[7]

Location[edit]

Slightly outside the city proper, the park is located along the Pune-Satara Highway near the Bharati Vidyapeeth University. The park is 8 kilometres from Pune, close to the Katraj Bus Depot. Six-seat auto rickshaws may be obtained from Swargate.

Criticism[edit]

Indian Rock Python

The zoo has had problems in the recent past. It was also criticized for its reckless handling of rescued Indian elephants Poornima and Lakshmi. Both were allegedly starved and developed infections. In another event, 13 fully grown peacocks were stolen from the zoo one night.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "About ZOO". punezoo.gov.in. Pune Zoo. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Search Establishment". cza.nic.in. CZA. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "Katraj Snake Park". punediary.com. PuneDiary. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Animal Adoption Program". Sakaal Times. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  5. ^ Katraj Zoo will soon have some Asiatic lions
  6. ^ Zoo development plan approved
  7. ^ "Ex-Situ Breeding". Times of India. 27 Dec 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 

External links[edit]