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Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE​ By Katyayini Kesharwani

Image by @bong_travelcouple, Instagram

This is the only specialized Zoo in the country and is internationally recognized for its conservation breeding programmes of Red Panda. – @lifeinatravel, Instagram

Inaugurated in the year 1958, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park has been a major tourist attraction in Darjeeling. It was established with the purpose to preserve and study Himalayan Fauna. the Park is named after Padmaja Naidu (daughter of Sarojini Naidu), was once governor of West Bengal State. This zoo has also managed to win the prestigious award “The Earth Heroes” in the year 2014. This is an award given away by the Royal Bank of Scotland. The reason this zoo was chosen among more than 300 zoos all over the world is that it has successfully conserved and looked after Himalayan animals and also those which are of the Alpine Region. The park is popular as the breeding centre for animals that are adapted to live in alpine conditions. Different breeding programs have been successfully completed here such as The Red Panda Program and many others. The park also helps the endangered animals with captive breeding programs.

Image by @mridul15_photography, Instagram

I basically don’t like zoos…because it’s a place where animals don’t live happily after all they live in cage, but I got to admit this – this zoo has one of finest collection of species in India. it’s very big and it takes fair amount of time to cover whole place. The Red Panda is the major attraction over here, along with Bengal tiger, panther, leopard, snow leopard, beer, takin, Himalayan wolf and so many other animals. – @ghoomiefoodietales, Instagram

Adjacent to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, it is a high-altitude wildlife park and the new home for Siberian Tiger, Himalayan Black Bear, Deer, Red Panda, Snow Leopard and Birds. The Snow Leopard breeding centre was started in 1986 to breed Snow Leopards in captivity with the help of the International Snow Leopard captive breeding project.

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The majesty of the Snow Leopard is known to all and can be witnessed at the Padmaji Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park at Darjeeling.
Dilip Kumar Dey, it’s first director and founder who belonged to the Indian Forest Service was on deputation to the Department of Education for the express purpose of establishing a high-altitude zoological park specializing mainly in Himalayan flora and fauna. The park’s prized possessions were a pair of Siberian tigers presented to the Government of India by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1960. Over the years famous names in the world of conservation have been attracted to and have visited the HZP.
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They share their habitat with big deadly cats… so don’t dare to take them lightly. Their strength lies in their number; A pack of wolves. – @n0mad_Soul, Instagram

Captive breeding of snow leopards was started in 1983, with leopards which were brought to the zoo from Zurich, the United States, and Leh-Ladakh. The red panda program was started in 1994 with individuals from the Cologne Zoo, the Madrid Zoo, Belgium, and the Rotterdam Zoo. In addition to these species, the zoo is breeding the Himalayan tahr, blue sheep, Himalayan monal, grey peacock pheasant, Himalayan salamander, Blood Pheasant and Satyr Tragopan. The zoo is famous for its conservation breeding programmes of the red panda, Himalayan salamander, Tibetan wolf, and snow leopard. The specialized zoo is a 5-minute drive from The Elgin, Darjeeling and is a must-visit for anyone with an affinity for wildlife and their habitats. There has been a concern regarding the fact that the Himalayan animals may face a threat due to rising temperatures in the hilly area.

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