Hyderabad is known to everyone thanks to its historical legacy with monuments such as the Charminar and the Golconda Fort. And who can forget the delicious and yummy Hyderabadi food consisting of the world famous Hyderabadi biryani. Well, Hyderabad also boosts of a very well reputed zoo called the Nehru Zoological Park. Known for its extensive safari parks and as a habitat for nocturnal animals, this Park is quite a wonder. So today, let us have a look at it.
Nehru Hyderabad Zoo is also known as the Hyderabad Zoo. The zoo was established in 1959 and declared open to the public in 1963. The park extends over 380 acres and is a premier recreation spot in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
One can find exotic and indigenous animals and birds including the Indian rhino, Asiatic lion, tiger, panther, gaur, orangutan, crocodile, and python. A lot of work is also being done by the zoo to successfully breed these animals and to counter the depletion of the natural populations and rehabilitated them in various deer parks and sanctuaries.
From a bird s eye view, the zoo premises appear like an oasis amidst a desert of concrete. But from the inside, the Zoo has some lush green gardens, lawns, and groves enabling one to observe the animals in their natural habitat.
One of the main attractions here is the Bengal tiger who lives in a vast open-air enclosure with his large family including nine white tigers. And one can easily get to distinguish between the African and Asiatic lions here. The African lions have a bigger mane and are generally a bit larger in size than their Asiatic cousins are. In their specially designed habitats with rocky cliffs and trees, the panthers, jaguars, and pumas from North and South America show off their beautiful colours and physical agility. Other canines here are the wolves, jackals, foxes, hyenas, the Himalayan black bear and the Malayan sun bear. The smaller carnivores include the playful otters and the sneaky ratels, also known as honey badgers.
Inside their massive enclosure, one will get to see a herd of majestic Indian elephants enjoying the large grassy open terrain. Then one can also see the heavyweight attractions that are the rare Great Indian rhinoceros and a bloat of hippopotamuses from Africa. The black buck, a resident exclusively of the Indian subcontinent, shares the vast wooded enclosures with the chinkara, the smallest Asiatic antelope. The deer troupe is successfully completed with the nilgai and the chousingha. And please do not laugh when you get to meet a real ass as in a donkey!!!!!!
One will also find here a number of primate species from Africa, Central Asia, and Southern Asia - known as the Old World monkeys. Natives of South and Central America, on the other hand, are known as the New World monkeys. Residing in their large open enclosures, the chimpanzees from South Africa are arguably the smartest of the bunch, and with five times the strength, they can easily overpower a male human. Of the five baboon species that survive today, you can see four at this zoo - the sacred, olive, yellow, and chacma baboons. The endangered orangutans, now only found in the rain forests of Borneo and Sumatra, can be seen here as well. Other species of monkeys found here are rhesus, bonnets, and langurs.
There are about 200+ reptilian here in the zoo. Be prepared to face the mighty King Cobra here. The hooded Indian cobra, the beautiful Russell s viper, giant rock and reticulated pythons, and the water monitor lizards are kept in open enclosures over here. If you are one of those weak hearted people, then this might not be the enclosure you might want to check out.
One can find several star tortoises and fresh water turtles along with their reptile cousins - the gharials, muggers and the estuarine crocodiles - reside in the open pools. Monitor lizards and chameleon occupy the neighbouring open-air exhibits here.
The zoo has a collection of more than 130 species of birds, which will surely impress even the most passionate bird enthusiast. One can easily spot the pheasants, hornbills, cranes, parrots, and birds of prey over here. Other birds found here are the skilful hunters like falcons, hawks, harriers, eagles, and vultures. But I am sure you would prefer watching the rosy pelicans, flamingos, and cranes in the large ponds and open grasslands more than others.
Flying foxes, also known as the fruit bats, are the largest bats in the world and are the main attraction of the nocturnal exhibit here. Other small critters at the nocturnal residence include the civets, leopard cats, hedgehogs and the mysterious owl. The different species of owl found here are barn, mottled wood, fishing, and the great horned owls.
The Lion Safari covers the rare Asiatic lions from the Gir forest of Gujarat, while they roam through the thirty acres of the safari park’s dense scrubs, open Savannah grasslands, and rocky plateaus. The tiger safari, covering an area of forty-two acres, is home to a healthy streak of tigers – the national animal of India. Surrounded by an eighteen-foot high wall, the safari park provides a unique opportunity to see the awesome felines without leaving the confines of the city. The safari also includes a look at the endangered sloth bears, which one can easily spot, perched up on the trees. These sloth bears are also called as Honey bear dues to their fondness to honey. The safari is also home to a herd of mighty bison.
The best time to visit the Zoological Park is during the winter months from October to March, as the weather is pleasant there.
Hyderabad is very well connected by trains, road and airports to major cities. On reaching Hyderabad, one can easily hire a bus or a taxi to go around.
The Park timing fluctuates during seasons as to accommodate the sunset and better viewing. The Park is closed on Mondays.
One can see hundreds of migratory birds at the two hundred year old Miralam Tank Lake with its unique multiple arched bund. One can also take a boat ride and get a chance to enjoy the view of the scenic landscape from a wider angle. Then there is the Maharaja Elephant ride that one can enjoy. With so much to enjoy, no wonder the zoo attracts an average of 15 lakh (1.5 million) visitors ever year. I wonder if the next time you will be in that 15 lakh.