An underwater reptile viewing gallery is planned for Mumbai’s Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udhyan or Rani Bagh (Byculla Zoo). The zoo’s management has stated that this facility will be operational by the beginning of April.
There are currently five crocodiles and two gharials (fish-eating crocodiles) at the zoo. However, there is no designated space for them there.
A raised platform and an underwater viewing gallery will be included in this brand-new 4,200-square-meter crocodile viewing facility.
The facility will resemble the reptiles’ natural habitat, according to chief engineer Vijay Nighot, who works in the building maintenance department of the civic body.
According to Nighot, who spoke with the Indian Express, “This viewing gallery is being constructed like a natural marshy habitat and will have a transparent glass window in the perimeter through which visitors can enjoy an unimpeded view of the reptiles.”
He stated that there will be two sections of the viewing area. Visitors will be able to take in an elevated view by ascending to an elevated platform.
Additionally, a second viewing gallery will be constructed a little below ground level to provide an aquarium-like underwater view of the animals.
There will be natural vegetation, such as bushes and shrubs, inside the enclosure.
Nighot stated, “We are also installing ozonation filters that will prevent the formation of algae on the water bodies and keep the water filtered for many days.”
The zoo’s director, Dr Sanjay Tripathi, stated that this would be the first Asian zoo to have its underwater crocodile viewing gallery.
According to Tripathi, the management of the zoo has already requested the acquisition of five gharials and five crocodiles for this new enclosure from the Nandankanan Zoo in Odisha and the Solapur Zoo in Maharashtra.
“All of the new reptiles will be made available for viewing when the facility is finished. We are focusing on an April first week cutoff time with the goal that we can open it before the mid-year get-away season, during which the zoo records a weighty footfall of guests,” Tripathi said.
The Royal Bengal tigers and penguins are currently Byculla zoo’s most popular attractions.
On January 1, 2023, the zoo hosted 32,820 visitors and made Rs 13.78 lakh in revenue, making it the centre’s highest single-day profit to date.