Tamil Nadu: The country’s largest zoological park attracts around 20 lakh visitors every year. It was shut on April 20, 2021 following COVID second wave.
Tamil Nadu: The popular Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Tamil Nadu, also known as Vandalur zoo, finally opened for the public on Wednesday after remaining closed for a good 127 days. The relaxation , that has come by the Tamil Nadu government, has also mentioned that apart from parks, wildlife sanctuaries will also be reopened in the state under strict guidelines.
According to the Indian Express, the country’s largest zoological park attracts around 20 lakh visitors every year. It was shut on April 20, 2021 following COVID second wave. The zoo authorities are still waiting for the official order despite permission granted by the government to reopen the park on Monday. On Wednesday, around 9am, Vandalur zoo followed by other wildlife sanctuaries such as Guindy National Park, Kurumbatti Zoological Park and Amirthi zoo among others were reopened for the public.
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Surpriya Sahu, Principal Secretary, Environmental Change and Forest Department along with other senior officials reviewed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and framed guidelines that need to be followed strictly in order to ensure safety of visitors, animals. Zoo director V Karunapriya has been asked to ensure the safety guidelines are followed in the zoo.
The zoo saw a footfall of 1,233 on the day one of reopening, reported the Indian Express. Speaking exclusively to the IE, Dr R Kanchana, Deputy Director of Vandalur zoo, said that initial days will see a thinner crowd as the zoo has remained closed for a very long time. “Visitors are expected to grow eventually in the coming days”, she added.
Keep in mind these guidelines before/ after entering the zoo
- Every visitor will have to get their temperature checked before buying a ticket to the zoo. If anyone is found to have symptoms for covid–like cough, colf, fever, they will not be allowed to enter the place.
- People entering into the premises will have to cover their faces with masks followed by frequent use of sanitizers which have been kept near the ticket counters. It is also said that not more than 7,000 people will be allowed inside the premises each day.
- The authorities have also been informing the visitors about the dos/don’ts inside the park. Visitors are told not to spit on the ground or near garbage areas. They have also been asked not to touch the gates. A Rs 1000 penalty would be imposed on those found violating the norms.
- The authorities have sanitised all the battery operated vehicles inside the park and have also been instructed to cover their faces and wear face shields. Ticket counters, washrooms and other general places will be sanitised in the mornings and evenings. They have also arranged soaps and sanitizers at different places for public use.
- Closed enclosures like the aviary, nocturnal animal house, aquarium and the serpentarium are yet not open for the public as a part of precautionary measure. Lion and deer safaris will also remain discontinued for now.
As reported in Indian Express, the Vandalur zoo had some 53 big cats. Two out of the 15 Asiatic lions succumbed to the infection as a pandemic hit the park. The authorities could control the spread among the other big cats with the help of stringent measures in place. The authorities have also vaccinated all the 352 staff members to ensure better safety.