History of Rani Jijamata Udyaan
Rani Jijamata occupies the land formerly owned by a Jewish businessman named David Sassoon. This zoo was donated to then Bombay by Mr. David Sassoon. He is credited with the development of other heritage structures like the ‘David Sassoon library’, the ‘Victoria and Albert Museum’ and the ‘Victoria Tower Clock’, all of which are located inside the park in Byculla. The zoo is presently under Mumbai Municipal Corporation.
Objectives of Rani Jijamata Udyaan Zoo
Rani Jijamata Udyaan is planned for recreational visits but is primarily aimed at providing shelter to rare and endangered animals and bird species.
Animals and Birds Protected in Rani Jijamata Udyaan Zoo
The zoo houses near about 200 animals of 26 species, 450 birds of 45 species and 8 reptiles. This zoo houses different kinds of animals like lions, foxes, monitor lizards, a single hyena in a dark room, black bucks and other wild species like snakes, crocodiles, elephants, hippos, blank monkeys (the langoors), black spot deers and giant elephants. Some of the birds protected by the zoo are flamingos, peacock and peahen. The zoo authorities have taken a positive step towards breeding uncommon species of birds like macaws and swans and releasing 200 deers in their natural habitat. There are also provisions for enjoying elephant ride safaris where one can spot various other animals.
The Botanical Garden Section of Rani Jijamata Udyaan
Lush green trees surround the Rani Jijamata Udyaan. The Mumbai zoo is reported to have near about 3213 trees which belong to 57 different families with around 173 genera and 285 species all inside Jijamata garden. It was calculated that among those 285 listed species, there are 30 species which are endangered and few of the very rare and rarest species of trees. The plants in the garden are used for various researches and studies. There are three types of gardens in the zoo namely, tactile garden for visually impaired, medicinal garden and butterfly garden. This botanical garden section of the Mumbai zoo will not undergo any revamp process.
Other Structures in Rani Jijamata Udyaan
The ‘Victoria and Albert Museum' named after prince Consort and Queen Empress of India was built mainly with industrial and agricultural interest. It is presently known as the ‘Bhau Daji Lad Museum’. It contains a large collection of archeological artifacts. India's culture and art has been displayed and exhibited through the valuable collections of this museum. The ‘Clock Tower’ present at the entrance of the Victoria Gardens resembles the Italian and Renaissance architecture in India. East of the museum is the giant statue of an elephant, taken from the Elephanta Caves on Gharapuri to Britain in 1864 and later returned to Rani Jijamata Udyaan. The ornamental gateway of the garden and the buildings are constructed in the Greco-Roman style which is much adorned by visitors. A statue of Jijamata and Shivaji is also displayed in the garden.
Revamp of Rani Jijamata Udyaan
With the death of many animals inside the zoo at an alarming rate (death toll raising to 24 deaths in 2009 and 55 deaths in 2010), Mumbai Municipal Corporation had to take major steps to preserve this old heritage of Mumbai and it’s name, as negligence by the zoo authorities and poor hygiene conditions costed the zoo, in terms of being listed as one the worst zoos in the world by many independent institutions. The zoo thus needed revamp of administrative building inside zoo, proper animal shelters and construction of boundaries for safety and convenience. With the combined efforts from the organization named People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Mumbai Zoo officials, a major revamp project was started at Jijamata Udyaan in the year 2011. The 2-years project is still continuing and during this revamp, many new wildlife species including African lions, rare zebras, orangutans, penguins are planned to be brought to the zoo from South Africa, Australia, and other parts of Asian countries.
Jijamata Udyan is exactly opposite to Byculla station, in the central railway route. For the western railway route, nearest station is Mumbai central station.
Endangered Species in India
Indian National Parks
Zoos in India
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