Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udhyan and Zoo at Byculla was established in 1891. It is popularly known as Rani cha Baug and is one of the oldest zoos of India. The zoo which once housed several endangered and rare species is in dire straits. Last year political parties and activists protested against the BMC for its failure to maintain the Byculla zoo. The zoo was once known for its lush greenery and the animals on display there. With the passage of time animals have decreased there, reducing the number of visitors in the zoo. BMC always makes announcements for improving the amenities in zoo but no progress is visible on ground. Even though the BMC is known as the largest civic body of the country but it has failed to maintain the zoo. If the infrastructure of the zoo is upgraded then more visitors will arrive thereby increasing revenue for the civic body.
Activists and animal lovers have often complained about the presence of poorly trained care takers in the zoo. According to the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 2009, every zoo has to regulate the movement of visitors in a manner that animals are not unduly disturbed, stressed or provoked. However, at the Byculla zoo, various officials and policemen are seen moving on motorbikes inside the zoo area and visitors are regularly seen attempting to feed the animals kept inside enclosures and teasing them. It is time to revamp the zoo with modern facilities and do a world of good for the animal lovers in the metropolitan city. Old toilets inside the Zoo is stinking and needs to be replaced with modern amenities and user friendly provisions for handicapped visitors.
The roads inside the zoo need proper concretisation and maintenance work for the internal vehicle arrangement move without much jolt. The potholes and craters have to be filled for catering to the needs of people from other countries visiting the zoo. It is high time to give the resident animals enough space to move around and ways and means for feeding them in an amicable way. Animals require water for survival and the zoo authorities should press for 24 hours water supply so as to enable them to quench the thirst of wild animals and birds. Animals generally die due to lack of water content in their body and that causes life threatening diseases and reduce the count of species of rare nature. Zoo can be shifted to a new surrounding with sufficient space and enough water supply to this corridor.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)