Established in 1953 as Peshwe Park by the Pune Municipal Corporation, Rajiv Gandhi Park was initially situated at the base of the Parvati hills. Although back then it was just another zoo of traditional style later on it was built on a new site with more spacious and naturalistic enclosures for animals. It was then that the zoo was renamed as Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park and Wildlife Research Centre. Currently located in Pune, India, the zoo consists of three main parts; the zoo, a snake park and an animal orphanage.
The 130-acre zoo is home to a diverse collection of mammals, reptiles and birds. Among the mammals are elephants, monkeys, black bucks, barking deer, sambars, sloth bears, leopard and a white tiger. Reptiles include Indian crocodiles, vipers, snakes, cobras and Indian rock pythons. A number of amphibians can also be seen in the zoo. About one quarter of the animals at the site are endangered species. The zoo has come a long way since its beginnings when it was home to a few number of animals including monkeys, spotted deer and sambars.
Gracing the zoo is a water body known as the Katraj Lake. The snake park is where you will find snakes, turtles, birds and reptiles. You can view more than 160 snake species here. Various snake awareness programs and festivals are organized by the snake park, to clarify people’s doubts and discourage ill-treatment towards snakes. The zoological park’s library offers information about the various animals living here.
The Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park’s main objective is promoting and conserving the species of the Western Ghat through carrying out captive breeding of this region’s endangered species and educating visitors by means of interpretive exhibits and appropriate signage. Research on the veterinary, biological and the behavioural aspects of wildlife is carried out by the zoo’s research centre.
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