Sunday, March 8, 2009

8-Mar-2009 Katraj Park

I am always of the opinion that the public parks and zoos in India are nowhere in comparison with the best in the world.

Take an example of Singapore Zoo. It is a huge enterprise. There are several animals from all around the world. They are kept in almost their original habitat. There is a lot of information for the tourist. The staff that maintains the zoo is very well trained on their job. This earns huge revenue from the tourists.

Back in India, our children were insisting for some time on visiting Katraj Zoo. They remembered the King Cobra from their last visit. They wanted to visit their "friend".

Location and getting there
Katraj Zoo is barely 5 kms from Swargate in Pune. Buses plying frequently to Katraj Zoo from Swargate station. Zoo is the last but one stop on the route to Katraj depot.

Inside the zoo
We took the ticket. The ticket is very less. With this kind of revenue, it is really difficult to run an endeavour like this.

We were little late to reach the zoo. The zoo closes by 6:00 PM. Hence we had to plan everything such that we do not lose much time.

First we saw the snakes section. Various snakes are kept in this section. Most of these snakes are rescued by the team from all over the city. After some time, they are released in the wilderness. Here we saw python, Cobras, Kraits, Viper, and several non venomous snakes. We saw a King Cobra. It is brought from Assam. It is a big majestic snake. One intriguing aspect is that other animals like crocodiles, ghariyal, tortoises, turtles are also in the same section. This is the first time I realised that tortoise and turtles are different. Till that time, I used these terms interchangeably. Tortoise primarily lives on land. It has a more round shell. Turtles primarily live in water. Their shells are relatively flat.

After Snake section, we also saw different birds namely Boneilli's Eagle, Egyptian Billed Vulture, and Peafowls. These birds are nowhere near Singapore Bird Park. There was a news recently that several peafowls were dead recently. Also there was a news that a crocodile was spotted in the lake where boating is carried out.

We saw different animals like Porcupine, Bear, White Tiger, Monkeys, Leopard, Sambar, Chital. All these animals are kept in different open air enclosures. This is one nice concept. The star of the attraction was obviously White Tiger. During ice age, tigers used to be white in colour for camouflage. These genes are dormant in most cases. However sometimes, these genes express themselves and hence very rarely we see White Tiger. 

We had to rush back as the park was closed by 6:00 PM. All the tourists were driven out.

Again the point is about comparison with Singapore Zoo. A good amount of money is invested to create a good infrastructure. Tourists get good value for their money spent.

People in India are not very much inclined towards discipline in public places. They simply do not have view to appreciate things around them. Instead they are busy in pursuing their narrow agenda. Hence they make bad tourists.

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