The National Zoological Park originally known as the Delhi Zoo is located near the Old Fort in the city of Delhi
. Established in the year 1959, the zoo is of the very best and largest zoos in Asia. It is stretched over a 176 acre of land. National Zoological Park houses almost 1350 animals representing almost 130 species of animals and birds from around the world. The zoo has been planned and designed as a natural habitat for the variety of species of animals and birds from Africa, Australia, America and Asia.
History of National Zoological Park
Indian Board for Wildlife created a committee in 1952. It was entrusted with the duty of creating a zoo for Delhi. It was done to provide shelter to animals and birds and provide recreation to people at large.
The committee met on 9th September, 1953 and approved the site for the zoo to be between Purana Quila
and Tomb of Humayun
. It was also decided that the Central Government would develop the park and hand over the administration to the Delhi Government as the wildlife was managed by Forest Department of the Delhi Government. Mr. N.D. Bachkheti, an official from Indian Forest Service was assigned the duty on 1st October 1955 for setting up the zoo. At the set up stage Major Weinmann, Director of the Ceylon Zoological Garden, Colombo was invited and asked to help the community to draw a co-ordinated plan for development of the Park. He then submitted a report along with a preliminary plan. However, for a long time he was not available for further consultations hence it was decided to call upon Mr Carl Hagenbeck the owner of the famous Animal Park at Hamburg, West Germany. In March 1956, he presented a preliminary plan and gave the idea of usage of open moat enclosures in the zoo. The plan was then modified according to the required conditions and approved by the Indian government in December 1956.
By the end of 1959, the Northern part of the zoo was complete. The roads, waterways, moats, ponds and animal houses had been constructed over the Northern half of the area, lawns laid and plantation done. Animals which had been arriving for some time were kept in temporary enclosures around Azimganj Sarai. These were then shifted to the zoo. The Park was formally inaugurated on 1st November, 1959 by Mr Punjab Rao Deshmukh, Hon`ble Minister of the Government of India
. This Park was initially known as Delhi Zoo. In the year 1982 it was given the name National Zoological Park.
Flora and Fauna of National Zoological Park
The National Zoological Park is rich in flora and fauna. Moving to the right from the entrance visitors reach the enclosures for animals that include Chimpanzee, Hippopotamus, Spider monkey, African Wild Buffalo, Gir Lion and Zebras etc. on the lift side the enclosures of water animals are located. One can also see a number of migratory birds like Peafowl, Hyenas, Macaque, Jaguar, etc in the swamps that had been made for the water birds. The underground Reptile Home complex is also located here that houses the nocturnal animals like King Cobra, Pythons and a number of other species.
National Zoological Park has approximately 200 varieties of trees. Some of them hanging deep yellow Alamtas or the Phulahi hedges, drought resistant Lahura trees, Delhi Bistendu, etc. The zoo can be seen on foot or tourists can also avail a battery operated vehicle that can be rented at the zoo. Visitors are prohibited from bringing any food from outside. However, there is a canteen in the zoo. It is also an ideal spot for arranging picnics in winter.