If you live in Mumbai or are a visitor here, the zoo in Mumbai can be a well- deserved destination for a weekend gateway for you and your family. The zoo is located at Byculla, at the heart of the city of Mumbai. It is popularly known as JijamataUdyan. The zoo was set up in 1861 by the British and named as Victoria Gardens. This makes it the oldest zoo in India. Despite its nomenclature, it is more a botanical garden than a zoo. The animal kingdom in the zoo is represented mostly by some endangered species like Bengal tiger, porcupine, mouse deer, Asiatic lion etc. There are other animals such as rhesus monkey, crocodile, reindeer, hippopotamus, elephant etc. However, you can see a variety of birds here.
The zoo in Mumbai was recently in the news for the death of a penguin. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, the governing and administrative authority of the garden, had brought some penguins from South Korea. These birds are being kept in a temperature controlled enclosure. This is the only zoo in India to have such an exotic bird from the coldest areas of the world. Another exotic species of bird that you can see here is the white crow. However, the garden is due to get a makeover. Renovation work is going on and in near future it will come up as a fledgling zoo that will boast of animals like Swamp Deer, Nilgai, Sambar, Zebra, Giraffe, etc. It also plans to have Sloth Beers, Wolves, Hyenas, Leopards, Jackals etc. The garden was actually established as a botanical garden and its floral collection boasts of species like Sundaritree, Castanospermumaustrale, Coccolobauvifera etc.
Historical architectural pieces inside the zoo
Apart from the flora and fauna, the zoo in Mumbaihas two more things to attraction – the clocktower and Dr.Bhaudaji Lad Museum. This building was formerly known as Victoria and Albert Museum and is the oldest museum in the city of Mumbai. The clock tower is a typical Italian renaissance architectural piece situated near the entrance of the zoo. It was erected in 1864, i.e. just three years into setting up of the zoo. The colored tiles on the façade of the tower have not yet faded their brightness. However, the most astounding fact about this clock is that despite being a 150-year-old clock, it still ticks and shows near perfect time.
Some interesting facts and figures about Mumbai Zoo
According to latest news which has emerged in the newspapers in Mumbai, there are close to 3213 trees and out of that it belongs to 57 families which are spread across 285 species, all of them being located in the Jijamata garden. Out of them 30 are endangered species of trees which includes some of the rarest in the world. When the revamp process of the zoo will take place, these trees will not be touched.
The zoo is expected to have a makeover and there is bound to be a 3D theatre. The total cost of revamping the zoo is expected to touch around 150 crores.
Time and ticket price
The zoo in Mumbai is open from 9 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening, and closed on Wednesdays. The entry fee to the garden is Rs.10 for children and Rs.20 for adults.