Tuesday, May 17, 2011

National Zoo, Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh

The biggest zoo in Bangladesh is the National Zoo at Mirpur in Dhaka.Dhaka Zoo, is a Zoo located in the Mirpur section of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. The Zoo contains many native and non-native animals and wild life, and hosts about three million visitors each year.

Established in 1974, the 186-acre (75 ha) Dhaka Zoo is the largest zoo in Bangladesh, and is operated by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.[2] The zoo attracts around 10,000 visitors every day with the number increasing during the weekends.[3]

The yearly budget of Dhaka Zoo is Tk 37.5 million, out of which Tk 25 million is spent on feeding the animals.

Dhaka Zoo - View Diverse Wildlife in a Natural Environment

Located in the Mirpur section of the capital city of Bangladesh, the Dhaka Zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals from 165 species and is a popular place to spend the day, both for Bangladeshis and international visitors. Established in 1974, the Dhaka Zoo has been developed and improved over the years, and is widely considered to be one of the best zoos in Bangladesh, receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Visitors to the Dhaka Zoo will appreciate the way the animal enclosures are designed to make each occupant feel at home by mimicking the animal’s natural environment as closely as possible. Of course, the animals are safely behind bars, but the overall appearance of the zoo, with its tree-lined pathways and two large tranquil lakes that host migratory water-fowl each winter, gives one the impression of being out in the country rather than within the boundaries of one of the busiest cities in Bangladesh.

Mammals at the zoo include elephant, cheetah, rhinoceros, zebra, waterbuck, otter, hyena, deer, giraffes, impala, black bear, tapir, hippo, lion and many different species of monkeys, as well as chimpanzees and baboons. The majestic Royal Bengal Tigers are a highlight of the Dhaka Zoo – which is fitting, seeing as it is the national animal of Bangladesh. Many of the animals, including the zebras, giraffes, impalas, hippos, waterbuck and rhinoceros were brought to Bangladesh from South Africa, and have adapted well to their new surroundings. The hippo enclosure contains a sizable lake covered in aquatic greenery that the hippos seem to thoroughly enjoy.

The aviaries at the Dhaka Zoo house more than 1,500 birds from 90 species, and visitors can expect to see peacocks, rhea, African grey parrots, cassowary, owls, ostrich, emus, teals, finches, babblers, owls, vultures, eagles and too many others to mention. Visitors are always fascinated by the crocodiles and snakes at Dhaka Zoo, while the museum provides many informative displays relating to the animals as well as the history of the zoo.

A particularly popular activity at Dhaka Zoo is going for an elephant-back ride, or for those who have a fear of heights, horse-back rides are also available. A visit to Dhaka Zoo is not only entertaining, but educational too, as visitors get to know more about animals found in Bangladesh, as well as animals from other parts of the world.

Wildlife officials in Bangladesh say they are planning to introduce birth control to curb the growing number of tigers and lions in Dhaka zoo.

There are now 36 tigers and lions in the zoo which has space for only 16. Half of the food budget is being spent on the big cats, officials say.

They have yet to decide whether birth control pills or hormone injections will be used to limit unplanned births.

Officials say a final decision on the method will be taken within two months.


The zoo's curator, Mafizur Rahman, told the BBC that several options, including birth control measures, were being considered as a way of limiting lion and tiger numbers.

A lioness
Officials want to emulate birth control measures carried out by London Zoo

Mr Rahman said the big cats were also in-breeding, which could damage the health of future animals.

"This can be risky as such mating causes the increase of lethal genes among the future generation, leading to premature deaths due to various diseases," he said.

Bangladesh does not have the necessary forests where surplus big cats could be released, he said. Requests for other zoos in Bangladesh and abroad to take on some of tigers and lions had met with little response.

"Our preliminary decision is to go for using birth control pills or hormone injections. But we are also gathering information on how the zoos in other countries are coping with the problem," Mr Rahman said.

According to wildlife experts, London Zoo is also using birth control methods to limit the number of its tigers and lions.

Mr Rahman said they do not want to introduce any permanent method of birth control.

"Pills or hormone injections will not harm the sexual desire of the tigers and lions. They will be able to breed once the birth control methods are withdrawn," he said.

The zoo's medical board is due to sit in a couple of months to decide on which method will finally be employed to limit in-breeding and unplanned births.

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