The Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo, also known as the Byculla zoo opened its gates to the public on Monday after remaining closed for seven months due to the Covid-19 induced pandemic. The zoo drew over 1,600 visitors and garnered revenue of Rs 68,725 on Monday, authorities said.
According to zoo authorities, the two biggest attractions for visitors were the two Royal Bengal tigers named Shakti and Karishma followed by the Humboldt penguins.
After remaining shut for 11 months, the zoo reopened on February 15, 2021, but had to shut down again in April due to the second wave of Covid. The November 1 reopening has come after a gap of nearly seven months.
The zoo has lost a significant amount of revenue during the pandemic. Between March and June 2019, it had collected nearly Rs 1.87 crore through the sale of tickets. Before the lockdown, during peak season, its revenue collection touched Rs 4.5 - Rs 5 lakh per month. However, revenue collected up to March 15, 2020, was just Rs 1.92 lakh.
Director of Byculla zoo, Dr. Sanjay Tripathi said, "We handled a total of 1,621 people on Monday, this is excluding children below three years of age and senior citizens. During pre-Covid times the daily weekly average visitor count was to 4,000 to 5,000, which went down to 3,000 during weekdays between the first and second wave. The number of visitors is expected to increase during the weekend."
The Byculla Zoo also gets many visitors in the form of morning and evening walkers. However, currently due to Covid-19, only a morning walk is allowed in the zoo between 6 am to 8.30 am followed by the operational timings of the zoo which is 9.30 am to 6 pm. The entry fee for the zoo is Rs 50, however, the BMC last week appealed to children and senior citizens to avoid visiting the zoo owing to Covid-19.
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