888 turn up as Chhatbir zoo reopens

Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 20

As many as 888 visitors showed up as the Chhatbir zoo reopened after more than two months today.

Rain, lack of awareness and Covid-19 could be the reasons for less than normal footfall, said officials.

“When weather clears up in few days, we hope good number of people would visit the zoo,” said Harpal Singh, Range Officer-cum-Zoo Education Officer.

Minister of Forests and Social Welfare Sadhu Singh Dharamsot made an unscheduled visit to the zoo in the morning and interacted with the staff.

The authorities had ordered the closure of the zoo on May 6 as a precautionary measure after eight Asiatic lions tested positive for Covid-19 at Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad. Earlier, the zoo was closed in view of the pandemic on March 17 last year and reopened in December, causing a revenue loss of Rs5 crore.

The zoo reopened on conditions that a limited number of visitors will be allowed entry and they will follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. Those aged above 65 and children below five years of age are not allowed entry to the zoo.

The zoo will remain open to public six days a week (Monday closed). Visitors will be allowed entry from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, instead of 9 am to 5 pm. To ensure staggered entry and social distancing, entry will be allowed in three slots — 9.30 am to 11:30 am, noon to 2 pm and 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm. The maximum 1,800 visitors will be allowed in each slot. There will be no entry for visitors during breaks for sanitisation — 11.30 am to noon and 2 pm to 2.30 pm.

Only a limited number of tickets will be available in different slots till normalcy returns. The entry tickets will be valid only for two hours after the entry. Tickets for entry to the zoo and other facilities can be booked virtually, the link for which has been provided on the zoo website (chhatbirzoo.gov.in).

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