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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Zoo ?

"Zoo" means an establishment, whether stationary or mobile, where captive animals are kept for exhibition to the public and includes a circus and rescue centers but does not include an establishment of a licensed dealer in captive animals.

Most of us would have visited zoos at one point of time or another, usually during our childhood - with parents or as part of our school programmes. Many people think of a zoo as a place for relaxation, entertainment, a place to have a fun.
Although the initial purpose of zoos was entertainment, over the decades, zoos have got transformed into centres for wildlife conservation and environmental education.

Zoos evoke strong reactions. People appreciate the opportunity to see animals they would never otherwise get a chance to see. This may be the closest to wildlife that many urban people may get, and so zoos provide a unique opportunity to create an interest and love for animals. While many people enjoy visiting zoos, others strongly feel that it is wrong to keep animals in captivity. It is true that some animals seem unable to settle down and live happily in a zoo. On the other hand, it must be remembered that many of these animals would not have survived without zoos. Apart from saving individual animals, zoos have a role to play in species conservation too. Many animal species are greatly reduced in numbers because of animal species from becoming extinct, through captive breeding.

The learning's and the experiences gained while interacting with live animals - seeing, hearing or touching them - can not be replaced by other modes of education. Live animals create curiosity and interest. Zoos provide an opportunity to open up a whole new world, and this could be used in sensitising visitors regarding the value and need for conservation of wildlife.

What were the objects and reasons for creating Central Zoo Authority ?

In the recent times, there has been a mushroom growth of zoos in India. Zoos, if managed properly, serve a useful role in the preservation of wild animals. Central Zoo Authority was created for overseeing the functioning and development of zoos in the country. Only such zoos are to be allowed to operate that are recognised and maintain animals in accordance with the norms and standards prescribed by the Zoo Authority.

How many zoos are there in the country ?

There are 161 recognized Zoos in the country (As on 31/03/2018)

What is the ownership pattern of recognized zoos in the country ?


Which is the existing oldest zoo in the country ?

The Marble Palace Zoo in Kolkata city which was established in the year 1854 is the oldest existing zoo in the country.

Which is the largest zoo (area wise) in the country ?

Sri Venkateshwara Zoological Park located in Tirupati city in Andhra Pradesh is the largest zoo in the country. The Area of the zoo is 1400 hectares.

What is the number of animals displayed by Indian Zoos ?

As on 31/03/2018

What does CZA's logo symbolizes?

This symbol of the CZA is a pair of interlocking hands, suggestive of cooperation and interdependence. Note that the black hand looks like a mammal and the white hands looks like a bird. The letter 'C' enclosed stands for the first letter of the Central Zoo Authority, as well as"Conservation", indicating the resolve of the CZA to conserve wildlife. The openess of the form is suggestive of geeting away from the traditional bar-like enclosures.

CZA's logo was designed by CEE.

How do Animals come to a Zoo?

Almost all new animals coming to zoos are acquired from other zoos through captive breeding programmes. Animals from the wild are acquired only as rescued ones, or for planned breeding programmes.

Wild animals are today coming into conflict with humans as a result of disturbances and loss of habitat. Animals which are victims of such conflict are rescued, and brought to zoo.

Some animals, for example, tamed elephants and macaques, create havoc when they get beyond the control of their master. People and property are harmed by these animals. Zoos are called to help. The animals which are caught are brought to zoos for treatment and keeping.

Zoos exchange their surplus animals with other zoos. Permission and clearances from the concerned authority have to be taken for this.

What you can do at a Zoo ?

At zoos, having fun and learning can go together. People must realise that animals they see at a zoo are special ones. Indeed, many species seen in zoos are threatened with extinction. Their population is decreasing in the wild due to various reasons. Some animals may be from far-away lands.

Usually, people spend only a few seconds at each enclosure and then hurry to the next. If more time is spent, a lot of things can be observed. Apart from observing animals, talking to a zoo keeper about the feeding, behaviour, etc. can be an interesting and educative experience.

Many visitors may look at enclosures full of rocks and plants and feel frustrated because they control see the animal. Actually, zoos try to make animal enclosures look and feel natural. This way, not only will the animals in a habitat that is somewhat like its real one.

People are sometimes disappointed if a zoo does not have giraffes, hippos and other large animals. But they overlook small and interesting animals.

What not to do in a Zoo?

Zoos are special places for animals, so it is very important to know what one should not do in a zoo. Visitors may disturb animals knowingly or unknowingly. There are often signboards in Zoos which tell people the things that should not be done. These instructions must be taken seriously.

The National Zoological Park at New Delhi has been declared a 'no polybag' zone. No visitor can bring a plastic bag with food material into the zoo. This has been done to protect the animals, as plastic bags, empty, as well as with leftover snacks, which are dumped on the lawns or inside animal enclosures, may be swallowed by the animals. Polythene bags are nonbiodegradable and cannot be digested. They can clog the digestive tract, and suffocate the animals to death. There are two very important things that visitors to zoos must remember.

Do not feed the animals.
This is the number one rule in a zoo. Each animal needs a different type of food. The food given at the zoo is special and similar to what the animals feed on in the wild. If they are fed with biscuits, wafers, etc. by the visitors, animals lose their appetite for the type of food they are meant to eat. Animals may also get infected with human diseases when visitors give them food. This can make animals sick and even lead to deaths.

Many people think that they are helping the animals by feeding them. this is where education to visitors to zoos becomes very essential. Instead of feeding animals, it would be a good idea to wait until their keepers feed them, and have fun watching.

Do not tease the animals
Shouting, hissing, making faces, throwing things, running in front of the cage, waving sticks - such activities disturb and irritate animals. Animals will be a lot happier if the surroundings are quiet. Sounds that animals make can also be heard if silence is maintained.

Animals are very shy and sensitive and have their own routine. Some stay awake at night and sleep most of the day, and if visitors disturb the animals just because they want to see the animals moving around, it disturbs their routine. Some animals need privacy and may be hiding. If the animal is hiding, one can come back later and check. People often expect animals to be active all the time, as though the animal wanted to meet and react to them at that precise moment. Teasing is a major cause of suffering for zoo animals. Teasing causes mental stress. Even seemingly "harmless" teasing such as snapping fingers at the animals, calling, hissing, or running in front of the cage, may be irritating to the animals.Other behaviours of the visitors like spitting and smoking can prove dangerous to animals. Bringing pets to zoos is also not allowed - the fear is that the zoo animal might catch some infection. All these acts can adversely affect the health of the zoo animals.
Statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change