The Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park and Wildlife Research Centre, or Katraj Zoo, recorded a footfall of 1,29,521 and a revenue of Rs 29,35,615 within a span of just 16 days — between April 8 and 23.
The figures have seen a substantial rise since the footfalls recorded in the entire month of April last year —1,28,658. The revenue for the month amounted to Rs 29,17,260.
The reason for this sharp jump are Tejas and Subhi — an Asiatic lion pair that was put on display for public on April 8. And since then, the pair has been attracting visitors to the zoo like never before.
Rajkumar Jadhav, director of the zoo, said, “It is the first time, in the history of Katraj Zoo, when such a significant rise in footfalls has been witnessed.”
The excitement and curiosity of people had begun almost four months ago, when the news about the lion pair getting introduced in the zoo had started doing the rounds. Even before the pair was put on display, the zoo was getting a number of queries almost daily, added Jadhav.
The footfalls are expected to rise further in May due to summer vacations, he pointed out.
As compared to other weekdays, the zoo usually saw higher footfalls on Sundays. But since Tejas and Subhi have been put up on display, there has been a consistent rise in the footfalls throughout the weekend. The footfalls recorded in the last 16 days are — 4,083 (April 8, Saturday), 9,948 (April 9, Sunday), 7,705 (April 15, Saturday), 13,768 (April 16, Sunday), 8,528 (April 22, Saturday), and 16,638 (April 23, Sunday). The zoo houses more than 360 animals, of which nearly 150 have been classified as “endangered” and “critically-endangered” under the schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act of India.
Tejas and Subhi — both around six years old — were brought under an animal exchange programme from Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden in Junagadh, in exchange of a species of birds. After being brought to the zoo about four months ago, they were kept under quarantine as per the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority. Under the zoo’s Animal Adoption Programme, the pair has been adopted by Kedar Kasar of KK Travels for a year.