Rising popularity of Goa zoo fills Forest Depts coffers

Panaji: Goa`s only zoo, a mini zoological park in the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary near here, has posted a health growth in revenue collection with its rising popularity, especially amongst the students.
Data released by Forest Department revealed that 2009- 10 saw 87,747 tourists visiting the place, 50 km from here.

Students topped the number of visitors with 23,549 of them arriving in the zoo to have a glimpse of wild animals, birds and also a botanical garden in the sanctuary spread over an area of 8 km.

Contrary to popular perception that foreigners visit Goa only to soak on the beaches, a total of 2,261 international tourists visited the place.

The department said revenue of Rs 14.77 lakh was collected in 2009-10 in the form of different fees as against Rs 11.70 lakh netted in 2008-09.

The gate fee fetched Rs 10.61 lakh, while renting of cottages and dormitories brought in Rs 3.77 lakh. Money also came from elephant rides and sale of plants.

The zoo is undergoing an upgradation at a cost of Rs 20 crore, most of which has come from the Central Zoo authority (CZA), a senior department official said.

The department officials said the popularity of the zoo shot up recently after a tiger, Rana, and tigress Sandhya were added to the inventory.

The zoo has 125 animal species, including bison, peacock, leopard, elephant, deer, bear, jackal, sambar, black buck, snakes like king cobra, pythons, and crocodiles.