Around 11,000 people have visited the Mahendra Zoological Park Chhatbir Zoo in Chandigarh since it was reopened on December 10. Zoo authorities said that “thousands” were refused entry due to Covid restrictions, according to not more than 2,700 could be allowed in, in three shifts each day.
The zoo had been shut for the last nine months since March 17. All visitors bought tickets through cashless modes including online booking, swipe machines, using QR codes at the fee counters.
The maximum footfall was recorded last Sunday when 2,500 people visited the zoo. Sources said 900 visitors are being allowed to enter in each time slot. The three time slots are 9.30 am, 12 pm and 2.30 pm. The maximum rush is witnessed during the 12 pm time slot during which many visitors are turned away after the limit is reached.
White tigress Diya and her three cubs Amar, Arjun, Dilnoor remain the main attraction of the zoo.
Royal Bengal tiger Aman, who paired with Diya, is still lodged in another enclosure. Zoo officials said Aman was separated because there are always chances of clashes between Aman and the cubs, which is natural behaviour.
A senior zoo official said, “There was demand of visitors and the contractor of Lion Safari to resume operations but we are waiting for the right time. Other two facilities including Reptile House and Nocturnal House will not open in the short future.”
Chhatbir Zoo Field Director M Sudhagar said, “We are satisfied with the response. Usually, the footfall on weekends is between 4,500 and 6,900 as there were no restrictions. Last Sunday, we recorded a footfall of 25,00 visitors. Almost similar number of visitors returned without getting entry due to the limited slots. The tiger enclosure is indeed the most visited corners in the zoo. Every time, we have to tell the people not to crowd around the enclosure in large numbers.”
According to records, 1,050 visitors visited the zoo on December 10, 900 on December 11, 1,900 on December 12, 2,500 on December 13, 1,100 on December 15, 1,100 on December 16 and 1,050 on December 17. The zoo remained closed on Monday.
The link for ticket booking is available on the zoo website (chhatbirzoo.gov.in). The QR code system and PoS machines facilities will also be available at zoo booking counters for visitors who are unable to do online booking.
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