The Alipore Zoo in Kolkata is one of the oldest zoological gardens in India, being established in 1875. It also hosts one of the best collections of animals in the country. For tourists to the city, it is a must-visit destination. And for residents, it is one of their favourite holiday and weekend spots, all through the year.
In recent years, the zoo has taken up a few initiatives to make it more attractive. Currently, a massive remodelling and renovation project is on at the zoo. Enclosures are being made bigger for some animals for their comfort. Many of the cages are being remodelled to make for a better viewing experience. One of the areas being remodelled is the reptile house.
A part of the reptile house is reserved for snakes. This area is one of the most visited. After all, who does not want to view these slithery creatures up close and personal, of course when they are comfortably placed in glass cages! To make it more habitable for the snakes by having as natural an environment as possible, many of these glass cages are being given a new look. For instance, some are being given a bed of sand, while others are being filled up with plants. In others still, branches of trees are being placed to enable the snakes to hang happily or wrap around in comfort. Creepers have been placed inside some, to suit certain snakes.
According to the zoo director, Dr Kanai Lal Ghosh, there are 14 species of snakes in the zoo. While some species have eight to ten members, some have just two to three. Over the last four years, the number of snake species has increased from ten to fourteen. Some snakes have been brought in from other zoos, while others have been taken in from animal rescue centres of West Bengal. Earlier, crocodiles and gharials were kept inside the reptile house, in a cramped space. Now they have been removed to open spaces in other areas of the zoo. This has resulted in more area being allocated to the snakes, which has not only helped the creatures get more freedom of movement, and hence a much better environment, but has also enabled the introduction of more snakes.
The renovation of the snake house is almost over; just some minor work is left. It is hoped that this section would be inaugurated before Durga Puja. The other improvement works at the zoo, including setting up of computerised entry gates, are also being speedily done. These would make Alipore Zoo much better, and in line with some of the better zoos in the world.
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