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Indira Gandhi Zoological Park is located amidst Seethakonda Reserve Forest covering an area of 625 acres in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. The construction for this ex-situ facility started in the very year 1972 when Wildlife Protection Act of this country came into existence and it was opened to public on 19th May, 1977. It is surrounded by beautiful and scenic hills of Eastern Ghats on three sides and Bay of Bengal on the fourth side. Being a Large category Zoo recognized by the Central Zoo Authority it houses 843 number of animals like mammals, carnivores, lesser carnivores, canids, ungulates, reptiles, birds and butterflies belonging to 123 species in a natural ambiance.
This place is also a home to many free ranging animals and birds owing to its existence in a forest area close to Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary. Many streams originating in the sanctuary area is a good source of water for the sustenance of various flora and fauna of the zoo park.
A tragic memory in 2014
The green lungs of Zoo Park spreading to an extent of 625 acres in Visakhapatnam city was turned into a graveyard after directly hit by HUD-HUD cyclone on 12th October 2014. Roar of wild animals, chirps of birds and soothing greenery was in shambles with the premises strewn with thousands of dried and uprooted trees. Although all the animals were kept safe, some animals from reptile section, ungulates, primates and birds section succumbed to the fury of the cyclone as their day kraals were completely destroyed.
The park remained closed for visitors for 2 months and kept open for the volunteers, officials and workers to cut the uprooted trees, clear the debris, circular path and inner roads, making circulation path, repairs to the damages, restoration of water, feed, drainage and sanitation, plumbing and electrical works, reconstruction and restoration of the damaged infrastructure. There were at least 50,000 to 80,000 trees and shrubs in 625 acres were either fallen down or collapsed.
But the park was restored back with the great and kind support of it’s thousands of volunteers who put in their sweat and blood to clear the area and help the authorities till it was open for visitors. Redeveloping the infrastructure, facilities for visitors, security, 1000 m compound wall construction, zoo hospital restoration, feed section restoration, fodder plots with irrigation system restoration etc., were taken up on priority and could witness the complete resilience by now. Central Zoo Authority had extended its financial aid up to 2 crores rupees and another 2 crores rupees were spent from gate revenue. The cyclonic disaster brought lot of Zoo friends to work for the cause of conservation and it in turn became the beginning of a new era for IGZP, Visakhapatnam.