Let me begin this next part of my day out at the zoo with what my friends and I didn’t see there. These things I learned too late but it stoked a fire in us to go visit Vandalur Zoo again and experience the whole adventure. The Arignar Anna Zoological Park is wonderfully staffed and funded by the Indian Government. It ‘s no small thing to have 262 full-time staff, including forest rangers, biologists, wildlife keepers and of course veterinary doctors. There are several diverse hierarchies of professionals working behind the scenes as well as up front to grow this zoo to international standards, which I believe they will accomplish in about 8 or so years (just my psychic opinion, there).
Other animals also present inside Vandalur Zoo that we did not see, meaning the ones whose enclosures we didn’t check out coz we were either temporarily lost, in a hurry, just plain skipped without knowing or weren’t available in their enclosures for some legit reason only the zookeepers can really know include:
1. Wild Dogs, Hyenas, Jackals & Wolves – I so badly wanted to see the wolves, but we just couldn’t seen to find the enclosure. Talk about stealthy…
2. Barking, Spotted and Hog Deer, Chitals, Nilgai, Sangai, and Blackbucks – All deer species, unique to the continent and beautiful.
3. Leopards & Panthers – The panthers were deep in their caves and the one leopard we saw wasn’t in the mood for a close up and made to walk away to lie down behind a wall. Clever girl…
4. Emus & Otters – The emus headed for their shelters as we approached. The otter swam away as well.
5. Camels, Llamas – I never they had these two species in here and, once again, we lost track of the exact habitat location.
6. Nilgiri and Leaf-Capped Langurs – Endangered species, both of them. Apparently, they knew it too and must have taken it as an insult seeing as how they refused to come out of their hidey holes.
5. Aquarium fish, Chameleons, assorted snakes, some varieties of crocs/gharials/gators and some varieties of turtles/tortoises – The Star Tortoises (named after the pattern on their shells) were all cozily asleep but we caught sight of the red-eared turtles, though.
6. Monitor Lizard & Muscovy Duck – The enclosures were empty of them.
7. European Brown Bear – We didn’t even know this awesome animal was ion Vandalur and so we didn’t ask for directions.
OMG! We didn’t see so many species… We will definitely be returning to catch sight of these missed wonders, so I’ll stash away my apologies.
Major Show Attractions In Vandalur Zoo
1. Elephant Wash – It usually takes place a little early in the morning, a little after the zoo opens and promises a chance to see these amazing behemoths up close and watch them as they happily embrace the water.
2. Walkthrough Aviary – Beautiful, pristine and a free open-flight range for birds. And dang it, we missed it.
3. Lion Safari – This also includes sights of deer and Gaur in a superbly extensive 70 hectares (170 acres) range. Not that I will end up boring you with details, but the numbers are large and awe inspiring and I don’t want to list all the technical details here about how big the safari range is.
The next time my friends and I go to Vandalur Zoo Chennai, and we will, these attractions are going at the very top of our list. It was a bit too crowded on the Saturday we visited for us to wait and go on these show attractions. Look out lions, we’re coming for a family reunion next time.
They have many ‘houses’ in here too. These include:
a. The Serpentarium or Reptile House — which is where we got some of those pics of the Reticulated Python.
b. Primate House – which we couldn’t see coz of the season. Monkeys from the same habit range are left to interact in here as they would in a natural setting.
c. Aquarium & Amphibian House – These are two different houses and contain the obvious, which we kept from seeing due to the long lines and a thirst to see something we haven’t already seen outside the zoo.
d. Crocodile Enclosure – Suffice to say the crocs were enjoying their weekend far away from the enclosure walls where we were waiting to see them. We did catch sight of some species, of course.
f. Nocturnal Animal World – We missed this certainly because we couldn’t stay till late evening. This house contains about 6 small night-loving species.
Other Exhibit Attractions:
i. Prey–predator concept enclosure made for the Bengal Tiger and Sambar Deer. Omg, how could I have not known about this? Next time…
ii. Prehistoric Animal Park with life-size clay-based figurines of extinct life forms. Not particularly impressive, but fun to see.
iii. Interpretation Centre to share knowledge on all things Nature. Gotta check this out when it’s open.
iv. Zoo School & Children’s Park which sounds interesting but we were too old for.
The proud owner of 81 enclosures and more than 170 species of mammals, reptiles and birds, Vandalur Zoo (aka Arignar Anna Zoological Park) is quite simply an Indian treasure. The Indian subcontinent and the Western and Eastern Ghats in particular are home to several endangered species, 46 of which are safely cared for inside Vandalur Zoo.
Let’s not forget the rich diversity of flora or plant life in here. Vandalur is home to 138 plant species. Not only do these include Eucalyptus, Bamboo and Cashews, the majority of vegetation here comprises dry deciduous and dry evergreen scrub forest flora from the Eastern Ghats region of India.
Modernity was well displayed through smart electric tour carts (battery-operated) and safari vans, not to mention ace security, private as well as governmental.
The zoo incorporates smart borewell technology and rainwater harvesting systems to provide fresh and clean water for its wild denizens. As mentioned earlier, solar power is big here these days with 14 enclosures benefitting from it and more soon to follow. It’s essentially a 250-kv battery linked to a 33-volt bulb and capable of an 8-hour power supply. Impressive…
Heat is an obvious threat here in South India. I learned the exhibit designs as well as an extensive sapling planting program has seen to Vandalur Zoo attaining quite the reputation for being energy efficient and attentive of their wildlife’s comfort and other needs. My psychic prediction that this zoo will be on a par with the international big boys in 8 or so years doesn’t seem so farfetched now, does it?
Feel free to be part of the magic and throw in a donation: http://www.aazoopark.in/donate-for-adoption.php
There are several future plans in the pipeline for Vandalur and it will be awesome to partake of its success. To conclude this post, Here’s a picture of my beautiful German Shepherd, Zara. It looks like we came back home to see the wolf we missed in Vandalur. Hehe!