The Alipore Zoo in Kolkata is one of the oldest zoological gardens in India, having been 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 the last few years, the zoo had taken up initiatives to make it more attractive. Remodelling and renovating some of the animal residences to international standards had been taken up. Enclosures have been made bigger for some animals for their comfort. Many of the cages have been remodelled to make for a better viewing experience. One of the areas being remodelled is the Reptile House.
The Reptile House is one of the most visited areas of the zoological garden. 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 the glass cages have been given a new look. For instance, some now have a bed of sand, while others have been filled up with plants. In others still, branches of trees are 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 fifteen species of snakes in the zoo. While some species have eight to ten members, some have less, making for a total of a little more than fifty snakes. Over the last four years, the number of snake species has increased from ten to fifteen. Some snakes have been brought from other zoos, while some have been taken in from animal rescue centres of West Bengal.
Earlier, crocodiles and gharials inside the Reptile House were short of space. Now they have been removed to open spaces. 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 living environment, but has also enabled the introduction of more snakes.
Besides the Reptile House, improvements of other areas have also been made. The area for lesser cats has state-of-the-art aluminium mesh, replacing the rusted iron one. Swarnamoyee House, an area meant for bigger birds, has also been remodelled completely. Mullick House, till now unused, has been refurbished into an information centre for the zoo. All information about Alipore Zoological Garden, including a detailed history, and its inhabitants can now be had from this centre.
The remodelling of the Reptile House and other areas to international standards is over, and are going to be inaugurated today. With better viewing conditions and better amenities, the zoo authorities hope that Alipore Zoo is going to attract still more people.
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