By Soudhriti Bhabani
Kolkata, Aug 15 (IANS) Are you a wildlife enthusiast and missing your leisurely strolls in the zoo owing to coronavirus-linked restrictions? If so, there is good news for you. You will be able to hangout with your favourite animals be it the famed royal bengal tiger, african lions, red pandas, anacondas or chimpanzees while chilling in your living room. These animals are now just a click away.
In a unique initiative, the West Bengal forest department has decided to offer a virtual tour of the Alipur Zoo to all animal enthusiasts from Sunday onwards via Facebook live twice daily.
It has been almost five months now that Kolkata’s famous Alipur Zoo has remained shut to visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, with the daily virtual tours now people from across the country can easily witness the real-time activities of wild animals while sitting at home.
Animals housed in the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling will also be featured on the Facebook live everyday. The initiative will be officially launched on Sunday by state forest minister Rajib Banerjee. The virtual tour will be conducted by the state zoo authorities twice daily.
The first virtual tour will be live between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on August 16. The virtual tour of both the Alipur Zoo and Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling will go alive on Facebook again between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the evening.
The Zoological Garden, Alipur, popularly known as the Alipore Zoo is India’s oldest zoological park and a big tourist attraction in Kolkata. Established in 1876, the zoological park covers over 46 acres of land in the heart of the bustling eastern metropolis.
According to officials in the state forest department, the aim of the daily Facebook live, starting from August 16, is to ensure that Alipore Zoo animals can be watched by wildlife lovers from any corner of the world.
Both the zoological parks witness high footfalls throughout the year, even during the summer. However visitors were barred due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was an unprecedented situation as the zoo never remained closed for such a long time.
“People can now easily take a virtual tour if they click on the Facebook page link of both the zoos – Alipur and Darjeeling – during the specific time everyday,” an official said.