Nandankanan Zoological Park, Bhadrak
About Nandankanan Zoological Park
Forest officials decided in 1960 that including rare plants and animals in the Odisha pavilion at the World Agricultural Fair in Delhi would help increase attendance. Word was sent to the forest department to capture as many small animals as possible for the display. In all, the forest department managed to capture two spotted deer (Axis axis), two barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), two black buck (Antilope cervicapra), one mouse deer, one leopard cat, one flying squirrel, one racket-tailed drongo, one hornbill, two parrots, two hill mynah, one peacock, and a mongoose. In addition, the divisional forest officer of Deogarh captured a pangolin (scaly ant-eater) and two porcupines, and the divisional forest officer of Puri captured a pair of wild boars and a Python. All of these animals were delivered to the Delhi fair and exhibited at the Odisha pavilion.The State Finance Department raised objections to a zoo in Odisha because of the cost of both establishing and maintaining the facility. While the issue was being debated, animals arrived back at Bhubaneswar in May 1960, posing problems to the forest department for housing and feeding them. P. Mohandra (Divisional Forest Officer, Puri) and G. K. Das (Divisional Forest Officer, Deogarh) built temporary structures at Khandagiri for the animals, and the community of Jain helped feed them. Discussions about a real zoo started soon after Dr. H. K. Mahatab, then Chief Minister of Odisha, visited the animals.The initial proposal placed the zoo at Ghatikia close to Khandagiri and Udayagiri caves. However, this was deemed to pose water problems in the future. A zoo needs lot of water to meet the need of animals, cleaning of animals sheds and for various other purposes. The then Range Officer, Chandaka suggested Jujhagarh forest block on Kanjia lake near Barang Railway station as the most ideal location. The then Chief Conservator of Forests, Divisional Forest Officer, Puri, Range Officer, Chandaka and D.P. Ghosh, Forest Ranger visited the place and were impressed with its scenic beauty. Kanjia lake with its vast expanse over 125 acres low and undulating hills of Jujhagarh and Krushnanagar D.P.F.S. with lush green vegetation on both sides of the lake presented a picturesque site. Jujhagarh Forest Block had all the advantages for locating the zoo except communication from Bhubaneswar and the only approach was via Chandaka covering a distance of 38 km. A committee consisting of Dr. Radhanath Rath, Sri G.C. Dash and Sri D.N. Choudhury, the then Minister of Forests, Secretary, Forest and the Chief Conservator of Forests respectively visited the place. They were very much impressed with its aesthetic beauty and recommended location of the zoo there with construction of a straight road (a distance of 14 to 15 km) from Bhubaneswar. Accordingly, it was decided to locate the Zoological Park in Jujhagarh Forest Block, Botanical garden in Krushnanagar Forest Block and develop Kanjia lake for Boating and Angling. The Director, Fisheries agreed to develop a portion of the lake for rearing various kinds of fish for visitors to see. Initially it was decided to keep spotted deer, barking deer, black bucks, wild boars, sambars, nilagai and bears in spacious enclosures. Other animals like leopard cat, mongoose, flying squirrel, porcupine, python, monkeys, hyena, jackal, civet cat, pangolin, jungle cat, parrots, mynah and other birds in suitable cages. It was decided to put efforts to capture tigers and leopards which could be exhibited in suitable cages for the time being and the suitable spacious enclosures would be built for them later on. It was also decided to raise a good flower garden and to plant important species and medicinal plants of Odisha inside proposed Botanical garden in Krushnanagar D.P.F. Eventually the site around the 134-acre (54 ha) Kanjia Lake was chosen. The lake would be developed for recreation as well. A 15-kilometre (9.3 mi) road was built to the site, and Nandankanan Biological Park was officially inaugurated on 29 December 1960, by Sri S. K. Patil, then Indian Minister of Food and Agriculture.A botanical garden was opened in 1963. The first tiger arrived at the zoo in 1964 from the Alipore Zoo in Calcutta, along with a pair of African lions, a pair of Mugger crocodiles, and a puma. The facility was renamed Nandankanan Zoological Park in 1981.In 2009 Nandankanan Zoological Park became the first zoo in India to become a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).