Open air enclosure thrown open to public

Bhubaneswar: Visitors at the Nandankanan Zoological Park from now on will have a better view of the leopards as the authorities have added an open top leopard enclosure to the attraction of visitors today, marking the foundation day of the zoo.

The enclosure, designed using two banyan trees located on the zoo premises, is the third zoo in the country after Gangtok and Aizawl to have such a site with an 8,000-volt solar powered electric fence for housing leopards.

Although it is stated to be an open enclosure, the exhibit will have solar fencing and steel plates at the top to prevent the leopards from making any attempt to escape.

According to zoo authorities three leopards have been housed in the enclosure.

The enclosure is designed in a manner that visitors can have a clear view of the animals. The visitors’ area will have no mesh wire fencing but a low concrete wall for protection.

“The new enclosure is scientifically designed to ensure not only a better view of the animals for the visitors, but also the safety for them,” a zoo official said.

Leopards are usually kept inside closed enclosures with the entire area under an iron mesh structure, because the animals are expert climbers and can climb up any kind of fencing.

The new enclosure will have such an arrangement that if at all, a leopard manages to climb up the wall and touches the outer layer of fencing, an instant electric current of 8,000-volt will strike it for a moment forcing it to retreat to its enclosure.

To mark the occasion, a Walk Through Aviary, built on a 2200 sq metre area has also been opened for tourists. Fifteen metres in height, the aviary will have an array of colourful birds to charm the tourists.