SRINAGAR: Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, during his visit to Jambu Zoo in Nagrota, reviewed the facilities provided to visitors and the overall functioning of the Zoological Park, which was opened to the public last year.
While assessing the situation, the Chief Secretary noted the need to increase visitor numbers to the facility, considering the attractions it offers. He suggested that schoolchildren and nature enthusiasts could benefit from increased awareness about the animals, their behaviour, and key features.
Dr Mehta emphasised that increasing footfall at the Zoo could be achieved by promoting its features and location to visitors coming to the city. He highlighted the absence of advertisements before the Zoo as a missed opportunity to attract onlookers.
He urged authorities to install large permanent hoardings at the Airport, Railway Station, and along the route to attract visitors’ attention. Dr Mehta also advised encouraging the millions of pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine to make a stop at the Zoo for refreshments, as it falls along their route to the cave shrine.
Dr Mehta also took note of the closed cafeteria and Nature Interpretation Centre within the campus. He called for their immediate reopening to provide visitors with a complete and informative experience. He recommended offering traditional Jammu foods in the cafeteria, including those made from millets, which are healthy and in demand nationwide.
During his visit to various animal enclosures, the Chief Secretary commended the staff for maintaining the animals in good health. He emphasised the importance of caring for all the animals to ensure their well-being. Regarding other improvements, he suggested that Tigers could be brought in by 15th October and Lions by 25th October, as these animals are popular and would attract many visitors, especially children. He also encouraged considering the addition of Hippos as an extra attraction to the Zoological Park.
Dr. Mehta acknowledged the hot weather in Jammu during the summer season and recommended extending the Zoo’s opening hours in the morning and evening. He proposed opening the Zoo from 7.00 to 10.00 am in the morning and 5.00 to 9.00 pm during hot weather days, providing people with a cool place to visit during these times.
He also noted some sinking portions of land on the premises and directed the authorities to involve experts for a careful study and suggest cost-effective measures to address this issue promptly.
Those accompanying him on the occasion included the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Chief Wild Life Warden, Zoo Manager, and other relevant departmental officers.