Vandaloor Zoo In Chennai

Written by Sudhir Kumar

Vandalur Zoo is a zoological garden located in Vandalur, a suburb 31 kilometres south of the city of Chennai, India and 15 kilometres from Chennai Airport on GST Road.The zoo is contiguous with the Guindy National Park.

About Vandaloor Zoo :

Vandalur Zoo, is a zoological garden located in Vandalur, a suburb 31 kilometres south of the city of Chennai, India and 15 kilometres from Chennai Airport on GST Road.The zoo is contiguous with the Guindy National Park. Founded in 1855, the park was the first public zoo in India. It is recognized by the Central Zoo Authority of India.It is the largest zoological garden in India and one of the largest in the world. It houses more than 170 species of animals in about 81 enclosures.There are about 47 species of mammals, 63 species of birds, 31 species of reptiles, 5 species of amphibians, 25 species of fishes, and 10 species of insects in the park.

Summer vacation is incomplete without a visit to the famous Arignar Anna Zoological Park, known more popularly as Vandalur Zoo. It is a must visit for most households of Chennai and for tourists visiting from far and wide.

Home to several innumerable species of flora and fauna since 1985, the Vandalur Zoo plays hosts to several hundred visitors everyday, a number that swells to several thousand during the vacation and also on occasions like Kaanum Pongal.

Features Vandaloor Zoo In Chennai  :

The key features of the park include the wild animal species (more than 170 species), Lion Safari, Elephant Rides and Battery Operated Vehicle Rides.

The animal species inhabiting the park include species like Tiger, Lion, Panther, Jaguar, Elephants, Giraffes, Camels, Barking Deer, Sambar, Blackbuck, Nilgai, Sangai, Hog Deer, Wolf, Jackal, Hyena, Llama, Otter, Lion-tailed Macaque, Baboon, Hanuman Langur and Leaf-capped Langur, etc. The zoo also maintains a library with great collection of wildlife related books and information.

In 1975 the zoo had expanded and moved out of the Chennai city. The Tamil Nadu Forest department shifted this zoo to Vandalur reserve forest in 1979. The zoo is located on an area of 1300 acres. The zoo was formally inaugurated in year 1985. This zoo is one of the largest in South Asia.

The Vandalur zoo has undergone a lot of improvement with new animals making their comfortable home here. A wide range of animal life is habitated in this zoo. Animals can be seen in large open island type enclosure, with wet and dry moats and hidden walls with simulated natural environment. There are totally 81 enclosures. More than 170 species of mammals, aviaries and reptiles are exhibited in the zoo.

Many types of deer ranging from barking deer, sambar, blackbuck, nilgai, sangai, hog deer. Monkey species – Nilgiri Langur, the endangered lion-tailed Macaque, Babboon, Hanuman Langur and Leaf capped Langur. Wolf, Jackal, Hyena, llama and Otter. Higher carnivores like the tiger, lion, panther, jaguar Elephants, giraffes, deers and camels Star tortoises Snakes Tropical mammals, birds and reptiles.

Animals in Vandalur zoo :

Watching white Tigers, lions , huge elephants, reptiles, wild and beautiful birds and aquariums are very thrilling and enjoyable too.

The zoo is an educational centre and houses a variety of species band and gene bank for a wide varieties. Public can get exposure the eco-friendly awareness and Forest conservation education from Vandalur zoo.

Vandalur zoo is also known for basic and applied research on animals behavior, ecology, disease and biology . Vandalur zoo also has technical and scientific facilities for introduction and propaganda of endangered species to its wildlife habitat,

Vandalur Zoo is open for the public round the year except on Tuesdays. Number of visitors are very high during the festive seasons.

Vandalur Zoo is a pride for Chennai and one of the best tourist spots.

History Of Vandaloor Zoo In Chennai :

The history of the Zoo goes back to 1855, when the Madras Zoo was established by Edward Balfour, Director of Government Central Museum, according to an official note. Unable to cope with the stress and pressures of urban development in Chennai, it was decided to relocate the Zoo outside the city limits.

In 1985, the Zoo was established over an area of more than 1,200 acres in the Vandalur Reserve Forest. The Zoo, according to the note, the first among Public Zoos in India, has a lot of similarities to similar facilities nestled in the midst of reserve forests like Nandankannan Zoo in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, for instance.

Authorities have been initiating a lot of measures to make the Zoo as free from pollution and garbage dumping as possible. Visitors are frisked at the entrance and all plastic goods are restricted. However, visitors are allowed to take water bottles. The rest of the goods are transferred to paper.

Other Details Of Vandaloor Zoo In Chennai :

Vandalur Zoo(Aringar Anna Zoological Park) is about 25Kms from Chennai city on the NH45 national highway (the same road as Chennai Airport, Tambaram railway station) and driving there is easy once you cross Tambaram.Anna Zoological Park popularly known as Vandalur Zoo is spread over a sprawling area of 602 hectares.It is one of the largest zoo insouth East Asia . There is ample car parking available inside the zoo premises. The Chennai suburban electric train service is another way to reach the zoo ,But the Railway Station is 2 Km away from the Zoo.There are lots buses operating from all parts of the city to reach the Zoo.The buses drop you in front of the Zoo which is more comfortable than Train.People Coming by train can get down at Tambaram and take a Bus to the Zoo. There are ample Number of buses available.

The zoo is open from 9.00am to 8.00pm all days, except Tuesdays. One can easily end up walking 10-15 km across the stretch of the park. The battery-operated vehicles are also available for rent. However, there are only 5-7 vehicles. Each vehicle carries approximately 15-20 people. Around 20-25 Bicycles are present to go around the Zoo. I feel Bicycle would be a better option then going in Battery car as it is Eco friendly and enough time to take photographs.

The zoo charges for entry are Adults: Rs.20, Children: Rs.10 and for Photo camera: Rs.25.

Elephant safari(9:30-11:30 am and 4:30-6:30 pm) and Lion Safari (9:30-4:30 ) are also present.The Lion Safari lasts for about 20 minutes and runs every hour twice. You are taken in a special caged van to a special enclosed area inside the zoo where lions are free to roam. The vehicle you are in goes very near to the Lions who are oblivious to our presence inside the van. If you are visiting Vandalur Zoo don’t miss this tour. If we can reach the Zoo by 9:00 am then it would be easy to get the bicycle . First we must finish the lion safari as number of tourist increases .

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Sudhir Kumar

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