Our children were learning about animals in their schools. They had the curiosity about how animals really look like. They are addicted to Animal Planet TV channel. We decided to visit the zoo to show them different animals.
Katraj is a suburb of Pune city on Satara Road. One can come to Swargate. From there, city buses ply regularly to Katraj. Zoo is the last but one stop. We can inform the conductor and he will inform when the stop arrives.
12:00 PM Started from house
After having our lunch, we started from our house. We went by autorickshaw to Swargate. We had to enquire about the bus stop to Katraj. We boarded a city bus to Katraj. In about 20 minutes, we reached Katraj zoo.
2:00 PM Reached zoo
Got the tickets for everybody and entered the zoo. First of all we noticed that there are lot of trees in the zoo. The trees are big. The are must be around for long time. It was a hot day. We saw the layout of the zoo and chalked our strategy.
Saw animals, birds, snakes
First, we went to the section where animals are kept in their respective cells. These cells are not the usual cells with grills. Each cell is big enough for the particular animal to feel free. There is no cage. A trench and a big wall protect the animals. A shelter is built in each of the cell for the animals. There are trees in every section. It was nice to see deers, stags, salamanders, tigers, monkeys, etc. Bear and white tiger were also supposed to be present in the respective cells. But we could not spot them.
Then we went to see birds. There are very few birds kept in the zoo. Peacocks, vultures are the only notable birds. These birds were caged. Not much information was present about them.
Lastly we saw snakes and other animals like tortoise, and turtles. For the first time, I understood the difference between tortoise and turtle. There are several species of tortoises and turtles.
We saw different snakes. One tank was full of cobras. The star attraction was King Cobra. This cobra was 12 to 15 feet long, black in color. Till that time I thought only Pythons can be so long. It was a majestic site from a distance and behind glass.
My son Varun was so impressed with the cobra that for a few months, he used to say that King Cobra is his friend. He meets King Cobra and they play together. He used to call all snakes on Animal Planet TV channel as King Cobras. He used to actively look out for pictures of snakes. For him, every snake was King Cobra.
The crew there chatted with us for some time about snakes.
I learnt that Cobra is not the deadliest snake as most of us believe. Vipers are more venomous than Cobras. If a snake releases poison in sufficient quantities, all venomous snakes can kill humans. Hence there is no point arguing which is the deadliest snake from practical angle.
If given treatment in time, almost all the snake bite victims can be saved.
Most deaths due to snake bites happen because the person is not well trained. They see TV and they think even they can handle snakes with ease. This overconfidence puts them in jeopardy.
The zoo has setup a snake helpline. They catch snakes and release them in the wild. Almost all of the snakes in the zoo are rescued snakes.
5:00 PM Started return journey
Finally we took a city bus to Pune city.
I was impressed with the zoo. The staff was trying to do whatever they can with the available means.
They have many skills. But they lack skills to handle this commercially. If we compare this with Singapore zoo, we feel the difference. In Singapore, it is almost a commercial activity. It supports several hundred staff all trained in different skills related to the animals. Huge funds are available at their disposal.
In India, we charge very less and do not provide facilities. This attitude can be changed. The charges can be slightly higher. Several world class facilities can be provided along with the latest knowledge in the field.