Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: A Himalayan Black Bear enclosure was inaugurated at Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar here today on the occasion of its 58th foundation day.

Odisha Forest and Environment Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra inaugurated the special enclosure in presence of Sandip Tripathy, PCCF (Chief Wildlife Warden) and Sisir Kumar Acharya, Zoo director during a function at the park.

Announcing a slew of developmental projects to increase the tourist footfalls and ensure better facilities at the park, Suresh Mohapatra said the state government has allocated a budget of Rs 30 crore for setting up a multi-storeyed parking lot, food court and development of the nearby bus stand.

Similarly, a major part of the Bhubaneswar-Nandankanan main road which did not have street lights earlier will now have lighting facility and half of the project cost will be borne by the zoo authority and the rest will be provided by the BDA.

Mohapatra also said that the toy train facility and ropeway ride which were inoperational for some time now will be restarted by the next financial year. "This apart, an approach road project to the Botanical Garden is also on the anvil," Mohapatra said.

Speaking on the occasion, Suresh Mohapatra also said, "Over the last year a lot of developmental works has been done for the betterment of the park and the employees working in it. Special incentives, housing facilities for employees and regularisation of jobs has been done,"

"Similarly, since it takes only 15 to 20 minutes from the park to reach Chandaka forest we are planning to extend the area of the park and include the jungle safari in it," Mohapatra added.

With vacation time on, the park has been witnessing huge footfall and the authorities have made all arrangements to ensure hassle free visit of tourists.

Nandankan is home to 154 species of  amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals with a total of nearly 3000 animals. The Zoological Park together with the  Kanjia lake and State Botanical Garden spread over an area of 4.37 sq. Km is rich in diverse flora and fauna.

The zoo was established in 1960 and thrown open to the public in 1979. In 2009 Nandankanan became the first zoo in India to become a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The zoo is known internationally for successfully breeding black panthers, gharials, and white tigers in captivity.