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Nandankanan Zoo

Nandankanan Zoological Park is the main zoological park located in Odisha. This park is situated in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. The zoo is a 990 acre park and botanical garden established in 1960. It is one of the first zoos in India to join World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The word “Nandankanan” means “The Garden of heavens”. The area includes 134 acre Kanji Lake.

After the damages caused by the super cyclone in 1999 a major upgrade was done to the zoological gardens in 2000. Every year nearly 2 million visitors visit this zoo to have a gala time with their family and little ones.

Nandankanan Zoo

History of Nandankanan Zoo

Forest officials thought of bringing in new rare plants and animals for an exhibit to occur in the World Agricultural Fair, Delhi. This fair organized in 1960 would help in the increase of attendance of people to the Odisha Pavilion. Word was sent to the forest department to capture such animals. The officials worked hard and captured two spotted deer, two barking deer, a pair of black buck, a mouse deer, a flying squirrel, one racket-tailed drongo, a hornbill, two parrots, one leopard cat two hill mynahs, one peacock, and a mongoose. The forest officer of Deogarh also captured and sent a pangolin and two porcupines. The divisional forest officer of Puri captured and sent a Python and two wild boars. All these animals were sent to Delhi for the exhibit.

However, the State Finance Department raised objection to a zoo in Odisha because of the various costing and investment involved in this process. While this issue was being debated the animals arrived back at Bhubaneswar. The forest department faced the problem of housing and feeding the animals, so temporary structures were built at Khandagiri for the animals and the Jains were asked to feed them.

The discussion of the real zoo started after the then Chief minister of Odisha, Dr H.K Mahatab visited animals. An initial proposal was made for the zoo to be located near the Udaygiri and Khandagiri caves.  But due to the problem of drinking water the site was changed to Bhubaneswar. The Kanjia Lake was developed, roads were built and finally the zoo was opened. It was officially inaugurated on December 29, 1960. A botanical garden was opened within the same area in 1963. In 1964 the first tiger arrived in the zoo from Alipore Zoo, Calcutta. More animals like a pair of African lions, a pair of Mugger crocodiles and a Puma came in. The facility was then renamed to Nandankanan Zoological Park in 1981. In 2009, the zoological park became the first zoo in India to become the member of WAZA.

Animals in Nandankanan Zoo

The zoo is home to about 1660 individual animals representing one hundred and twenty species, including fifty four species of birds, forty two species of mammals, and twenty four types of reptiles. The death rate of animals here during the 2008-2009 fiscal years was 3.1% per year compared to the national average of 10%, which is very low.

Nandakanan Zoological Park is famous for its white tigers. The first litter of white tigers was born in 1980, since then many of them have been distributed all over India and internationally for breeding. Today the zoo is the home to 34 white tigers. Other endangered species like Asiatic Lion, Sangal tailed Macau, Nilgiri Langur, Indian mangoline, mouse deer, countless birds and reptiles can be found in this zoo successfully breeding.

The zoo includes an aquarium which houses a large variety of fresh and salt water fish. The park also has a reptile house and an orchid house, which serves as home to many rare reptiles and wild and rare orchids. Till date the orchid house is said to have alone documented one hundred thirty species of orchids.

Breeding Programs in Nandankanan Zoo

Nandankanan Zoological Park is known for its breeding animals in captive programs. The zoo is well reputed for breeding white tigers, gharials (crocodilians), and black panthers. The zoological park has since its establishment bread white tigers of good gene. The original breeding of the white tigers were started with a yellow tiger and a white tiger. When the litter was born, the females were white while the male were yellow. With every breeding the amount of white tigers increased along with the yellow tigers. Today after distribution of white tigers internationally, 34 of them are found in this zoo.  It is to be noted here that many times white cubs were born who later turned into their normal yellow color.
Other animals like crocodilians and pangolins are bread here. Crocodiles and pangolins from different locations, both national and international are brought here for breeding. Animals are also transferred to registered and approved branches for preservation of the species. Today there are 10 pangolins in total present in the zoo.

'Adopt an Animal' Program in Nandankanan Zoo

In order to preserve rare animal species, the zoo started Adopt an Animal Program in 2008. The adopters are awarded with a customize certificate and a free entry ticket for every animal in the zoo. The money received from the adoption helps in the preservation and conservation of the zoo animals. Adopters can buy a small bird from 500 rupees to 1 lakh. The adopters are offered a tax redemption certificate. Many reputed organization, government and private have adopted some of the animals in the zoo.


Nandankanan Zoo
Khordha, Nandan Kanan Road
Barang, Orissa 754005
Phone: 0674 254 7850
Open Days:
Tuesday to Sunday
Monday Closed
Timings: 8am to 5pm

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