Nature & Wildlife
Originally known as Delhi Zoo, the National Zoological Park is situated near the Old Fort in Delhi. Covering a vast area of 176 acres, this zoo is the home to 1350 various animals that represent almost 130 species of birds and animals from all over the world. The visitors can see the zoo on foot or if they want, they can also rent a battery-operated vehicle to give them a thorough tour of the zoo. Although the visitors are not allowed to bring outside food with them inside the zoo, a canteen in the zoo premises would help to satisfy their hunger.
Established in the year of 1959, National Zoological Park was the brainchild of the Indian Board for Wildlife and was designed by Major Aubrey Weinman from Ceylon Zoological Garden and Carl Hagenbeck from Zoological Garden of Hamburg. Major Weinman drafted the initial plans for the zoo but since he was not available for a long term, Carl Hagenbeck was hired. Carl Hagenbeck presented the main preliminary plans for the zoo among which the idea of using moated enclosures was the most notable one. Animals were moved from temporary pens into permanent homes by the end of 1959 and on 1st November the zoo was opened with the name of Delhi Zoo. Later on in 1982, this name was officially changed to National Zoological Park so that it can become a model for other Indian zoos.
Considered one of the best and largest zoos in Asia, National Zoological Park aims to make the animals and birds feel comfortable by making their environment similar to their natural habitat. Talking about the animals and birds housed in this zoo, one would find spider monkeys, hippopotamus, Gir lion, chimpanzees, African wild buffaloes and zebras if he takes a right turn from the entrance. On taking the left from the entrance, one would be able to see animals and birds such as hyenas, macaques and migratory birds like peafowl. Jaguars can also be spotted in the swamps that have been designed for the water birds. The underground reptile house can be found at the center of the zoo. Other animals and birds that are a part of this zoo are black bears, white tigers, eagles, peacocks, blackbucks and leopards.
National Zoological Park takes an active part in conservation breeding programs of the Central Zoo Authority. Under this program, the zoo breeds Indian rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger, swamp deer, Asiatic lion, red jungle fowl and brow antlered deer. The success story of the conservation breeding of brow antlered deer in this zoo has become a model for various other zoos across India in locations such as Kanpur, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Mysore and Junagarh.
Other attractions in this zoo include the Kos Minar that was erected by Mughal emperor Jehangir. There is also a library within the zoo. The library is based on wildlife and can provide immense amount of information regarding the zoological park’s history and knowledge about the various species of wild animals housed in this zoo. Considered as one of the most popular picnic spots in Delhi, National Zoological Park is situated near the Pragati Maidan metro station.