Alipore Zoological Gardens in West Bengal
by A. Goel | May 6, 2016
Alipore Zoological garden or the Alipore zoo is India’s one of the oldest formal zoological garden known for housing the now expired Aldabra giant tortoise which lived for presumably 250 years before it died in 2006. All the rescued animals from the animal smuggler’s den discovered by the Calcutta Police in 2014 were handed over for safe custody to his zoo. This zoo also set a new record when over 75,000 people visited this zoo in January 2015.
The zoo is also known for captive breeding. Breeding was successful in white Bengal tiger and reticulated common giraffe. While the success rate of breeding the regular species was successful, the success rate in breeding rare species has not been successful due to the lack of initiatives and poor funding programmes. The layout of the zoo has remained unchanged for over 50 years and thereby the plan is currently outdated.
Many wounded animals like tigers, deers and birds are brought from Sunderban forest for treatment to this zoo. These animals return to their natural habitat after being treated in special care of the vet experts.
History of this zoo dates back to 1842 AD when Dr. John McCleland conceptualised the zoo for Calcutta. Thereafter, in 1873, a formal plan was submitted for the establishment of zoological garden which was kept in abeyance till 1875. After the site was approved in 1875, temporary enclosures were set up to house the arriving animals. An amount of Rs 5000 was immediately sanctioned to meet the expenditures of housing the animals that had started to arrive. Lord Clive donated the Aldabra Giant Tortoise. Mr Schwendler also donated some specimen from his collection which resulted in a sizeable number for the vast zoo. Thereafter, the zoo was thrown open for public in May 1876.
The Managing Committee of the zoo appointed Rai Bahadur Ram Brahma Sanyal as the Superintendent, given his credibility. He used to record all the observations in respect of treating the animals, feeding, reproductive behaviour etc in the daily registers of the zoo.
Timings & Tariff
The Zoo is open on all days except on Thursday between 9 am till 5 pm. If any holiday falls on Thursday, then the weekly holiday is observed on next working day. The entrance fee is Rs 20/- per person and Rs 5/- per person for aquarium. For video photography additional charge of Rs 250/- is collected on hourly basis.
Dos and Don’ts
The visitors are advised to follow the do’s and don’ts strictly, some of which are
- Do not play musical instruments within the zoo premises
- Do not litter within zoo premises
- Do not carry firearms or dangerous materials
- Do not try to enter animal enclosures
- Do not carry polythene bags or materials within zoo premises
- Keep the zoo premises clean
- Vacate the zoo premises before closing hours
- Make use of dustbins
There are no cloak rooms and hence the visitors must take care of their own belongings.
Best Time to Visit
Anytime is suitable to visit this zoo but winter season is the best season especially the months of October till December being considered best as the temperatures are low leaving ample time for visitors to explore the zoo.
Map of Zoo
Spread over 45 acres of land, this zoo houses numerous species of animals, birds and plants. Visitors can also view migratory birds within this zoo during winter season which is best time to visit. The birds like pheasant, Hornbill, Ostrich, Emu and Macaws are seen in this zoo.
Animals like Indian elephant, one horned rhinoceros, White Tiger, Royal Bengal Tier, Slow Loris, Crowned Crane, Giant Eland macaque, Southern Cassowary, Grant’s Zebra, Chimpanzee, Giraffe and reptiles are kept in various enclosures for public to view.
How to Reach
It is located next to Ganges River and close to the Police training centre and race course. Alipore Zoo is located in the centre of Calcutta and hence easily reachable by all modes of transport. The Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose international Airport is located at 25 kms away. Buses are also available from Howrah, Seldah and Esplanade centres. The nearest railhead is Sealdah or Howrah which has good connectivity to major cities of India.
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