Set at a distance of around 35 km away from the main city, the Arignar Anna Zoological Park of Chennai is synonymous to wildlife conservation. The place is an instance of consciousness as 602 hectares of land has been directed to protect wildlife habitats. The park is amazingly classified as 92.45 hectare of land has been acquired for rescue and rehabilitation and across 1265 acres of land habitats are free to move. The Zoological Park is a prominent breeding ground for different wildlife habitats beside that it offers one of the best safaris of life.
Edward Green Balfour, the then director of the Government Central Museum at Madras encouraged nawab of carnatic to donate all his collection of animal to the museum and thus the journey of Madras zoo began. 1855 is a date the Zoological must remember in its book of history because without an initiative of Mr. Balfour it would have not been possible. By 1975, the government of India and state government failed to accommodate growing numbers and visitors so they thought of moving the location and in 1976, the state government of Tamil Nadu cleared the land of 1265 hectares to establish zoological park to protect wildlife animals and nature. The forest department definitely played an important role and Vandalur Reserve Forest was seen suitable for development of the park.
Flora and exhibits
The ecosystem of zoo is very sensitive and it consists of dry deciduous forest and dry evergreen scrub forest. The park has 81 enclosures and it is home to more than 170 species of mammals, birds and reptiles. The compilation of the Arignar Anna Zoological Park includes barking deer, blackbuck, sambar, sangai, nilgai, wolf, tiger, jaguar, panther, hog deer, jackal, hyena, lion, giraffe, camel, otter, llama, elephant, etc. Amongst 46 endangered species of the Western Ghats, the Eastern Ghats and the Indian Sub continent includes Nilgiri Macaques, Monitor Lizard, Muscovy duck, Bengal tiger, Lemur, star tortoise etc.
The plant species includes 138 species which includes cashew and eucalyptus, the dense vegetation supports 56 species of butterflies and numerous species of birds.
The lion park was introduced by deploying an area measuring around 30 hectares beside that safari park include Gaur and Deer park been created on a hilly terrain slope with total area of 70 hectares. Elephant safari was introduced in summer of 2008 providing a ride on elephants to tour around the zoo. The night safari is also there and it was initiated to understand and observe behaviour of wildlife habitats.
Arignar Anna Zoological Park has two bird aviaries where both migratory and indigenous bird fly freely. Amongst migratory the name of flamingos, teals, storks, herons etc comes first beside that to encourage the number the breeding process has been introduced by authority of zoo.
Walk through aviary
It was inaugurated in 1992 it is set on a slope behind the tiger house. The facility within is modern and it is home to around 242 species of birds. Some of the famous breed includes Alexandrine parakeet, rose-ringed parakeet, blue rock pigeon, common myna, etc.
Butterfly house and reptile house
It was built at a cost of 6 million rupees and it has 25 host plant and landscape habitats beside that it has waterfall and rock gardens to encourage breeding of butterfly. The environment of the house attracts common Mormon, crimson rose, mottled emigrant, blue tiger, evening brown and lime butterfly. Another interesting thing to note within the house is an insect museum which you would notice while entering the park.
Reptile house displays around 104 species of venomous snake, the primary attraction of the reptile house is King Cobra beside that it is home to Indian python, Burmese python etc. The zoological park with its extensive land has amphibian house, crocodile enclosures, primate house, world of nocturnal animals, aquarium, etc.
Wildlife safaris on battery operated car with a range of up to 80 km is available for rent, within the park you would find snack house and ice cream parlour has been set up for traveller. There is an ambulance facility which was introduced in 2013 for immediate action.
Opens daily from 9 am to 5 pm expect Tuesdays.
Adult RS 15, Children 5 to 12 years RS 10, still camera RS 25 and for student it is RS 2.
By road it is 32 km away from the main city with nearest railway station at a distance of 1 km Vandalur station, beside that Meenambakkam serves as domestic airport which is located at a distance of 15 km from Arignar Anna Zoological Park.