Being a nature lover I was very keen to visit the Rajiv Gandhi zoological park situated in Katraj near Pune city. Managed by the Pune Municipal Corporation, this place of recreation stretches over 130 acres of land and inhibits a total of 362 animals. It was opened in 1999 on March 14th and since then it has been a favorite recreational spot for children as well as nature lovers. As I entered the park I could feel a child like excitement in me as I remembered the days of my childhood. I grabbed my camera and started to click pictures of every distinctive creation of nature that I saw in the park.
This zoo is divided into three segments. It comprises of a snake park, an orphanage for animals and a zoo. Moreover it also incorporates a lake, commonly known as the Katraj Lake which covers an area of 42 acres. The zoo is home for a variety of reptiles, mammals and few of birds. The zoo show cases a white tiger as well as a male tiger named as “Tanaji”. Other animals dwelling in the zoo are sloth bears, leopard, barking deer, sambhar, peafowl, black bucks, elephants and the most commonly found monkeys.
The huge collection of reptiles includes cobra, snakes, Indian crocodiles, vipers and Indian rock pythons. The zoo also features amphibians such as the Indian star tortoise. The snake park section of the zoological garden exhibits a collection of black lions, dinosaurs, snakes, birds and amphibians such as turtles.
There are altogether more 150 individuals dwelling in this part of the park which incorporate more than 22 species of snakes and reptiles of 10 other species. The thirteen feet long King cobra is the main attraction of the snake park. Information about various species is clearly displayed on Braille and also in other conventional formats. A library is also made in the park to enhance the knowledge of visitors.
In order to preserve bio diversity and conserve the endangered snake species the Katraj Snake Park organizes various snake festivals and awareness programs in frequent intervals. It also runs a campaign during NagPanchami to discourage ill- treatment with snakes in the name of religion.