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WILDLIFE TOP 10
Top 10 Zoos
 
Arignar Anna Zoological Park (Vandalur Zoo), Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tamil NaduTop 10 Zoos

Arignar Anna Zoological Park, also known as the Vandalur Zoo, is the most saught after destination in Chennai after the beach. Vandalur Zoo was founded in 1855 as Madras Zoo. Edward Green Balfour, who was the director of Government Central Museum at Madras in 1854, requested the then Nawab of the Carnatic to donate his animal collection to the museum. The zoo was then set up in the museum premises and in the year 1976, Tamil Nadu Forest Department identified an area in the sub-urban area of Chennai to construct the current zoo, which is the largest in the Indian Sub-Continent. It is the first public zoo and the largest zoological garden in India. Sprawling in an area of 1490 acres, the zoo houses 1500 wild animals. It has almost 3,000 visitors a day. Arignar Anna Zoological Park is the largest zoological garden in India. The zoo houses more than 170 exotic species of fauna in about 81 enclosures. The animals are kept in large enclosures preserving then in their natural habitat. The Chennai Zoo is a specialty breeding place for the rare Lion Tailed Macaque, found only in the Western Ghats. The Lion Safari is one of the highlights of the zoo. Visitors get to enjoy a 15minute drive into the safari. Vandalur zoo is one among the very few places, which organises elephant safari for the visitors. The zoo is also one among the very few zoological parks in the country to house white tigers and there are nine white tigers in the zoo currently.

How to reach
Vandalur Zoo is located in Vandalur, a suburb in the southwestern part of Chennai about 31 kilometres from the city centre and 15 kilometres from Chennai Airport on GST Road.

Nandankanan Zoological Park, Bhubaneswar, OdishaTop 10 Zoos


Nandankanan Zoological Park is a zoo and botanical garden located in the capital city of Bhubaneswar within the environs of the Chandaka forest in the state of Orissa. Spread over 990 acres of forest area, Nandankanan Zoo is renowned all over the world for its exotic white tigers. The zoo is also organizing a breeding program for the White Tiger, Gharial Crocodiles, Black Panthers and Pangolin. It also contains a botanical garden and part of it has been declared a sanctuary. Lion safari Tours is one of the major attractions among the tourist here. Some other rare species includes Manipuri Deer, Hippopotamus and Wild Ass. Established in 1960, it was opened to the public in 1979 and became the first zoo in India to join World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in 2009. Nandankanan is the only zoo in India with the credit of having Patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas), Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximus) and Open-billed Stork (Anastomus oscitans). Besides, it has the glory among the 2 zoos in India having Orang-Utan (others in Kanpur Zoological Park, Uttar Pradesh), Indian Pangolin (others in Jhargram Zoo, West Bengal), Spotted Munia (Others in Sayajibaug Zoo, Gujurat) and Burmese Python (others in Culcatta Snake Park, West Bengal). It is among the three zoos of India having Green-winged Macaws, Cinereous Vulture and Nicobar Pigeon.

How to reach
Amidst the natural beauty of natural forest adjacent to Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary, Nandankanan lies in the vicinity of Kanjia lake. This site covers a portion of Krishnanagar and Jujhagarh Demarcated Protected Forests (DPF) and close to Baranga Railway station on Howrah-Chennai route.

Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden, Junagadh, GujaratTop 10 Zoos


Junagadh Zoo, also known as Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden is the oldest zoo in the state of Gujarat situated in 1863 by the Nawabs of Junagadh. The Sakkarbaug Zoo has taken the task of preserving this rare species of Asiatic Lion by starting the Endangered Species Captive Breeding program earning the status of the largest breeding center in the country. According to this program, the lions are bred in the zoo and then let out in the nearby Gir Forest. Other animals found in the zoo are tigers, leopards, lions, elephants, flamingo birds among many others. Junagadh Zoo is spread in 200 hectares (490 acres). In 2003 the zoo opened a natural history museum in a large hall in the veterinary hospital. In 2009, Sakkarbaug Zoo became the only zoo in India to hold African cheetahs when it traded three of its lions with a Singapore zoo for two pairs of cheetahs. The last cheetah at the zoo had died over 60 years ago in 1946. The zoo is part of the breeding program for white-backed vultures. The first chick from this effort was born at the zoos Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centre in February 2011.

How to reach
Next door to Junagadh museum is the Sakkarbaug Zoo, open from 9am-6:30pm (closed on Wednesday, like the museum). Junagadh is 327 km from Ahmedabad, 102 km from Rajkot, and 113 km from Porbandar.

Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad, Andhra PradeshTop 10 Zoos


Hyderabad Zoo, also known as The Nehru Zoological Park, is one of the largest and best zoos in India. Located in the city of Hyderabad in 1963, The 380 acre zoo was named after the first prime minister of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru. The Zoo is abutting the historic miralam Tank bund, a 200 year old, and World’s first multi arch masonry dams. The Zoo spreads over 380 Acres and was established on 6th October, 1963. This is the first Zoo in India to have animals arranged in Zoological order, in open enclosures. Such open enclosures, in near natural ambience, makes the animals feel "at home". This helps in their breeding, and facilitates study on animal behaviour. Zoo houses numerous species of birds, animals, reptiles and fishes. Zoo has bred successfully several indigenous animals like Asiatic Lions, Royal Bengal Tigers (Yellow & White), Panthers, Indian Rhino, Gaur, Several primates, Bears, Deers, Antelopes, Birds, Reptiles etc. Exotic animals like Giraffe, Iguanas, and Chimpanzee have also successfully bred here. One of the striking features of this zoo is that you can spot rare white-backed vultures here. Some other special attractions include the Tiger Safari and Lion Safari Parks in an almost natural forest setting, Elephant rides and children Train.

How to reach
Nehru Zoological Park is located near Mir Alam Tank in Hyderabad. It is one of the three most visited destinations in Hyderabad. Zoo hours vary by season, and the zoo is closed on Mondays.

Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden, MysoreTop 10 Zoos

Mysore zoo oficially known as Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens is located near Mysore palace in Mysore, India. The 245-acre zoo is one of the oldest and most popular zoos in south India. It was established by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar in 1892, making it one of the oldest zoos in the world. The zoo is a home to elephants more than any other zoo in India. Some of the other exotic fauna includes striped Hyena, Jungle cat, Asiatic black bears, African Elephant. It is also the only zoo in South Asia to host a Gorilla. Mysore Zoo is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Another feature of Mysore zoo was its role as “Orphanage” for rearing abandoned animals such as the calves of elephant and gaur, tiger and leopard cubs and other young ones. In addition, elephant calves were caught in Khedda were reared and subsequently sent abroad to various zoos. Rhinos were added during 1956. In 1977, a pair of Gorilla, a pair of Orangutans and some Chimpanzees were acquired and for the first time in Indian zoo history, all three species of large apes were housed together. Zoo displays native and exotic animal species in natural settings, providing conservation education and experience based tourism activities. At present there are 1450 individuals belonging to 170 different species. The large number of animals is exotics like Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Zebra, Giraffe, African Rhinos, Tapir, Marmoset, Lemur, Baboon, Emu, and Cassowary etc. Even among the native fauna, there is a great diversity comprising Felids, Candies, Bovines, Deer, Antelopes, Primates, Reptiles, Birds, etc. All these beautiful and majestic animals can be seen in open natural enclosures. Hence, a visit to Mysore zoo is quite rewarding.

How to reach
Mysore Zoo is located right in the heart of Mysore city adjacent to Karanji Lake. Initially Kensington Gardens were acquired for the zoo along with famous Thandisadak from the palace and 5 acres of land towards western side including the road from C.I.T.B. Mysore. Zoo remains closed on Tuesdays.

National Zoological Park, DelhiTop 10 Zoos


Delhi National Zoological Park is situated near the Old Fort in Delhi. A 16th-century citadel, a sprawling green island and a motley collection of animals and birds, all in the middle of a burgeoning urbane Delhi. Spread over 214 acres, the zoo boasts more than 2,000 animals and birds representing almost 130 species from various places around the world. The rare Manipur Brow-antlered deer is the emblem of the Delhi Zoo. The zoo is well organized and animals are kept at large enclosures making it one of the best zoos in India. Some of the well-known species found here are hillock, gibbon, white buck, white tiger etc. Here at the National Zoological Park, birds and animals live in an environment that in many ways resemble their natural habitat. The National Zoological Park not only provides a home for endangered species, but also helps them to breed in captivity. Eventually they may once again thrive in the wild. Spread in 176 acres, this park was formally inaugurated on 1st November, 1959. This Park was initially known as Delhi Zoo. In the year 1982 it was given the status of the National Zoological Park with the idea of it being the model zoo of the country.

How to reach
It is located in the heart of National capital, adjacent to Old Fort and few hundred metres from India Gate and Delhi court. Tomb of Shershah Suri is just in front of the zoo. It remains closed on Fridays and National holidays.

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, DarjeelingTop 10 Zoos


This is the only specialized Zoo in the country and is internationally recognized for its conservation breeding programmes of Red Panda, Snow Leopards, Tibetan Wolf and other highly endangered animal species of Eastern Himalaya. It was formerly known as Himalayan Zoological Park and was established on 14th August, 1958 in Darjeeling (West Bengal). Darjeeling Zoo, also known as Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, located on the slopes of Jawahar Parbhat just below the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, was recognized as the best Zoo in India in 2008. The zoo is a home to some of the rare species of animals not found elsewhere. Some of the species includes snow leopard, red panda, Tibetian wolf, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan salamander, Siberian tigers and many others. The Zoological Park falls under the category of small zoos as per Central Zoo Authority's classification but is the largest high altitude zoo in the country.

How to reach
It is 85 Km. from Bagdogra Airport. The Railway Junction New Jalpaiguri is also the same distance and it is connected with all the major cities and towns of the country.

Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden, GuwahatiTop 10 Zoos


Officially known as the Assam State Zoo, Guwahati Zoo is located within the Hengrabari Reserved Forest at Guwahati, Assam, India. Founded in 1957, Assam state zoo is the largest zoo in the North East India. Spread over an area of 432 acre, the zoo is a home to Asiatic lion, the royal Bengal tiger, the Himalayan black bear, the one-horned Indian rhinoceros, capped langur, the stump-tailed Macaque and a variety of avifauna and indigenous reptiles. The Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden (popularly known as Guwahati Zoo) is home to about 895 animals, birds and reptiles representing almost 113 species of animals and birds from around the world. Over the years, the Zoo grew and expanded to accommodate eye-catching exotic ones like Chimpanzees, White Rhinos & Black Rhinos, Zebras, Ostriches and Giraffes from Africa; Puma, Jaguar and Llama from South America and Kangaroos from Australia. To get these exotic animals the Zoo used to send indigenous animals like one horned Indian rhinoceros and others, to many countries.

How to reach
Being bang in the centre of Guwahati city, the "chidiyakhana" as it is known in local parlance is well connected to all the cardinal places. One may take an autorikshaw or a texi cab from the Guwahati Railway Station or the Bus Station (both are about 8 km away). The Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport is about 25 km away and is about 40 mins drive away. If one prefers to soak in the local flavour and avail the public transport facility, then take the city buses which ply every 10 minutes or so, via Chandmari flyover, to the zoo.

Alipore Zoological Gardens, Kolkata, West BengalTop 10 Zoos


The Alipore Zoological Gardens (also informally called the Alipore Zoo, Calcutta Zoo or Kolkata Zoo) is India's oldest formally stated zoological park (as opposed to royal and British menageries) and a big tourist attraction in Kolkata, West Bengal. It has been open as a zoo since 1876, and covers 18.81 ha (46.5 acres). It is probably best known as the home of the now expired Aldabra Giant Tortoise Adwaita, which was reputed to have been over 250 years old when it died in 2006. It is also home to one of the few captive breeding projects involving the Manipur Brow-antlered Deer. The zoo remains one of the most popular winter tourist attractions in Kolkata. The footfall figures in 2012 showed an annual visitation of almost 3 million - more than any other tourist attraction in Kolkata. The zoo displays a large number of crowd-pulling megafauna, including the Royal Bengal Tiger, African Lion, Jaguar, Hippopotamus, Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, Reticulated Giraffe, Grant's Zebra, Emu, Dromedary Camel and Indian Elephant. Previously, other megafauna like the Panthera hybrids and the Giant Eland were present. The zoo sports a large collection of attractive birds, including some threatened species - large parrots including a number of Macaw species, Conures, lories and lorikeets; other large birds like Touracos and Hornbills; colourful game birds like the Golden Pheasant, Lady Amherst's Pheasant and Swinhoe's Pheasant and some large flightless birds like the Emu, Cassowary and Ostrich.

How to reach
Zoo is located in the heart of Kolkata city at Alipore road. The Zoological Garden at Alipore remains closed to the visitors on every Thursday. If any holiday falls on Thursday, the garden remains open to the visitors on that day and the weekly closure is observed on the next available working day.

Trivandrum Zoo, Thiruvananthapuram, KeralaTop 10 Zoos

Trivandrum Zoo, also known as Thiruvananthapuram Zoo is located in the temple city of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. Occupying 55 acres of woodland, lakes, and lawns, this zoo is an annexe to the Napier museum. It is one of the well-landscaped and oldest zoos in the country. Home to 82 species from around the world, animals are kept mostly in open enclosures. Indigenous species includes Indian rhino, Asiatic lion, royal Bengal tiger, leopard, Nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque and many others. The zoo includes a reptile farm which exhibits both poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. Thiruvananthapuram Zoo is one of the oldest of its kind in India. Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, who ruled Travancore between 1830 and 1847, established a menagerie where royal tigers, panthers, cheetahs, deer, boar, and other wild animals were kept. His brother Uthram Thirunal and British Resident William Cullen formally establish the Zoo in 1857 as an annex to the Napier Museum. The zoo was originally built with the typical iron-barred cages prevalent at the time, and was designed for recreational purposes, but with increased loss of forest and wildlife due to human development, the goal of the Zoo has changed from recreation to conservation.

How to reach
The Museums and Zoo are situated in the Museum Complex right in the heart of the temple city of Thiruvananthapuram. It is 3 kms from Thampanoor Bus Station and Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station and 9 Kms from the Thiruvananthapuram Air Port. Zoo is approachable by K.S.R.T.C bus route : Museum, Vellayambalam, Peroorkada, Sasthamangalam, Vattiyoorkavu and Nedumangadu route buses.

 
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