Central Zoo opens after nine months

All photos BIKRAM RAI

Following a nationwide lockdown on 24 March and restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19, all public places with large gatherings were shut indefinitely. But since then most of them have welcomed visitors abiding by the strict ‘physical distancing’. Museums all over the country opened from November, now the Central Zoo in Jawalakhel has opened its doors.

Established as a private zoo in 1932 by the Rana prime minister Juddha Shumsher, the Central Zoo is now run by the National Trust of Nature Conservation and currently houses a total of 942 individual mammal, bird, fish and 127 species of reptiles. 

Shut down for close to a year, the management has had time to reflect on their work and make better arrangements for animals and visitors alike. Employees were also giving online sessions to schools and students who are members of their program--Friends of Zoo 

“Although visitors weren’t allowed in for nine months, at the zoo we were working on maintenance, taking care of the animals, working on the Covid-19 rules and regulations, and rescuing animals,” says the chief of Central Zoo, Chiranjibi Prasad Pokhrel, adding that visitors can now book their tickets online.

On the first day of the opening at 10AM on Thursday, the zoo saw over 800 visitors. At the entrance employees in full PPE gear, visors, masks and gloves were admitting people after checking their temperature. Visitors will have to wear compulsory masks and direct contact with either animals or fellow visitors is prohibited.

Says Pokhrel: “From the outside, it looks like we are suffocating the animals here, but we have no intentions as such, our focus is solely on their well being. News of animals contracting Covid-19 has also surfaced but their health is our utmost priority."

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