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Eco-friendly initiative catching up

Bicycles and eco-friendly battery operated rickshaws, introduced at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park a few days ago, are catching the fancy of visitors. The brand new bicycles seem to have become the hot favourite of youngsters to pedal around the sprawling 625-acre zoo, while the rickshaws are ideal for the present-day small families.

Billed as the only zoo in India located amidst natural settings, with hills acting as barriers on two sides, a stream right at the centre and the blue waters of the sea forming the backdrop on one side, the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park is favourite haunt of not just animal lovers but also those who wish to spend out a day to chill out amidst the trees.

It’s no wonder that the zoo is one of the most-visited picnic spots during the annual ‘Karteeka Maasam’. The only grouse of the middle-aged and senior citizens is that they have to walk a long distance. There are only three 10-seater battery-operated vehicles run by the zoo authorities, and they were in demand most of the time.

Preventive step

The ticket for entry of motor vehicles is kept high to discourage the movement of cars and other vehicles in a bid to prevent pollution on the zoo premises apart from causing inconvenience to walkers. The bicycles and rickshaws come in as an eco-friendly alternative to move in the zoo.

“The bicycles can be hired for Rs.20 each for one hour and a trip in the battery rickshaw, which can accommodate four persons, is Rs.120. The demand is very encouraging for both and we hope to double their number to 10 in the near future,” says assistant curator Mashady.

“An advantage to visitors is that 4-member groups need not wait for our 10-seater battery-operated vehicles to fill up to take the ride as they can go on the rickshaws. Those who wish to pedal around can take a ride on the bicycles,” he says.

The zoo is drawing 8.5 lakh visitors annually. It works out to around 2,700 visitors a day. “There are some officials who come to the zoo regularly for morning and evening walk in view of the serene atmosphere. This is because the zoo is located right in the city and can be reached easily,” says zoo curator B. Vijay Kumar.