Attractions and Zoo Darjeeling, Park, Tourist Point, Wildlife, and Zoo
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (also called the Darjeeling Zoo) is a 67.56-acre (27.3 ha) zoo in the town of Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal. The zoo was opened in 1958, and an average elevation of 7,000 feet (2,134 m), is the largest high altitude zoo in India. It specializes in breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions, and has successful captive breeding programs for the snow leopard, the critically endangered Himalayan wolf and the red panda. Moreover it is the only zoo in World which has been able to breed Tibetan Wolf and also the first zoo in South Asia to breed Snow Leopard and Siberian Tiger. The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park was established on the 14th August 1958 under the Department of Education of the State for study and conservation of the Himalayan Fauna. On 21st November 1975, the zoo was dedicated by Shrimati Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, to the memory of Shrimati Padmaja Naidu, former Governor of West Bengal. Since then the zoo is known as “Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park”. In the beginning its goal was to study the Himalayan Fauna. There was not much to see for the general public. However that changed with the introduction of Siberian Tiger. The pair was present to the Government of India. With the passing of time more and more animals began to be introduced and consequently the park has become one of the most visited spot in Darjeeling. There has been a substantial increase in the number of important animals during the last 5/6 years. Red Panda and Snow Leopard population has tripled. Their number of enclosures has approximately doubled during the last 5/6 years. This has elevated the position of the zoo at international level. In addition to the above, the zoo gives pleasure to visitors by displaying different kinds of animals like Siberian Tiger, Tibetan Wolf, Yak, Blue Sheep, Markhor, Himalayan Thar, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Snow Leopard and host of Pheasants.
Although the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park falls under the category of small zoos according to the classification of the Central Zoo Authority under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India, this Zoo is still the largest high-altitude Zoo in India owing to the sizeable area it covers. This park is a joint venture between Government of West Bengal and Government of India and is funded for its research and maintenance by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India. The zoo includes an off-display breeding center for snow leopards and red pandas. Captive breeding of snow leopards was started in 1983, with Leopards which were brought to the zoo from Zurich, the United States, and Leh-Ladakh. The red panda program was started in 1994 with individuals from the Cologne Zoo, the Madrid Zoo, Belgium, and the Rotterdam Zoo. In addition to the above mentioned species, the zoo is breeding the Himalayan Tahr, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Monal, Grey Peacock Pheasant, Himalayan Salamander, Blood Pheasant and Satyr Tragopan. The zoo attracts about 300,000 visitors every year. The animals and other species are kept under natural habitats to better protect and breed the wild animals as well as educate the importance of natural surroundings to visitors and tourists.
The Zoo is open each day from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except on Thursday.
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