Soon, tour Byculla zoo at the click of a mouse

Jan 25, 2012, 08:00 IST | Urvashi Seth

To mark its 150th anniversary, zoo management plans to launch website that will give virtual tour of the zoo; the site will also host details about enclosures, flora and fauna and so on

If everything goes according to plan then soon, you will be able to explore the famous Byculla Zoo via logging on to its website. As a part of the zoo's makeover, its management is planning to come up with a website that will help animals lovers to get the latest information on the zoo, the species it hosts and above all, a virtual tour of the animal facility at the click of a mouse.

What an idea! Besides launching a website and revamping the zoo, the
authorities are also planning to install electronic scroll boards outside
enclosure that will provide visitors with history of that particular animal.
File pic

'Change is a must'
Confirming that the website is in the pipeline, a senior zoo official said, "By the time the entire zoo is revamped, we will develop our own website that will help us promote the city's oldest zoo. Emphasis will be given on marketing the zoo across the country and world. Also, this year we are celebrating the zoo's 150th anniversary. We need to change with the times, and a website for the zoo is a must."

Giving an insight on the content of the zoo's webpage, the official said that the site will host minute details about the zoo, including enclosures, the zoo's flora and fauna among others.

"By logging on to the website, you can select a particular part of the zoo you want to explore. This will help domestic and international tourists to explore the zoo in a much better way," he added.

Anil Anjarkar, director, Byculla Zoo, said, "By the time the final plan for revamping the zoo is sanctioned, we will have our website. A virtual tour will be a part it." Anjarkar further revealed that the authorities are also planning to install electronic scroll boards outside every enclosure that will provide tourists with the history of that animal.

'Revamp post- polls'
Commenting on the delay in the upgrade of the zoo, a senior official, requesting anonymity, said, "Post-elections, the plan for restoration of the entry plaza will have to be sent to the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) for scrutiny. Meanwhile, Thailand-based HKS Designers and Consultants International, is using the time to discuss and scrutinise the plan. We have kept documents related to tender ready. After the polls, we will immediately invite tenders and begin the pending work."

According to the official, in phase-I of the revamp, the entry plaza and the heritage structure will be restored. Besides, new species of animals were supposed to be brought in to fill up empty enclosures.

However, with the code of conduct in place, the zoo management could not invite tenders for the revamp and the work had to be put on hold.

Did you know?
Though the facility was established as a botanical garden in 1861, a small zoo was added in 1873.

The garden's name was changed from Victoria Gardens to Veermata Jijabai Udyan in 1969. The garden, which boasts of features such as a classic Renaissance Axial layout, triple-arch gateway, a clock tower and a city museum, has been bestowed upon with Grade II B heritage status.

Besides, its award-winning conservatory is a replica of the one at world-famous Kew Gardens in London.

Post-makeover attractions
>> The zoo will have a total of 340 animals and birds 
>> Ten pairs of exotic Humboldt penguins, emus and zebras will be added 
>> Indian species: hyena, jackal, wolf, wild dog, sloth bear, porcupine, mouse deer, gaur, sambar, swamp deer, Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, leopard, jungle cat, common otter, palm civet
>> An interpretation centre, the heritage structures on the premises would be restored 
>> Additional toilets, resting places, rain sheds, drinking fountain and car parking

Earlier, the CZA had turned down BMC's Rs 480-crore makeover proposal on May 11, 2011, stating that it was impractical and that the civic body had overlooked the heritage committee's objections. Following its rejection, the BMC reworked on the proposal (Rs 150-crore) in accordance with the CZA norms.

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