Over 2,500 turn up as Delhi zoo opens after three months
Despite the early morning showers in the Capital, over 2,500 people turned up at the Delhi zoo on Sunday as it reopened after nearly three months.
The National Zoological Park has reopened in two shifts, and the administration will initially allow around 3,000 visitors a day, split evenly between each shift. In the first shift, the zoo will be open from 8am to 12pm. It will then be shut for an hour for sanitisation and disinfection, and will reopen again from 1pm to 5pm. The zoo will stay shut on Fridays.
The zoo’s director, Ramesh Kumar Pandey, said visitors on Sunday were not deterred despite the light rain.
“The rain could not deter the spirit and enthusiasm of the visitors, especially the young ones. We tried our best to make their visit worthwhile,” Pandey said.
He said that around 2,500 people visited the zoo on Sunday, and that the second slot was packed.
To ensure Covid appropriate behaviour, the zoo administration has stopped the in-person sale of tickets, and users must book tickets online 24 hours in advance on the website, or scan QR codes installed at the zoo entrances.
The Delhi zoo reopened on April 1 this year, after being shut for nearly a year since the pandemic broke out in the national capital in March last year, but was closed two weeks later, as the fourth wave of infections expanded its footprint in the city. Before this, even though Delhi started reporting a downward trend in Covid infections, the zoo stayed shut due to incidences of bird flu, the first of which was reported in January this year.
Preparations were underway on Saturday afternoon, with the premises being sanitised and additional security being deployed to manage the Sunday crowd. CCTV cameras have been installed and the zoo authorities have also urged visitors to adhere to Covid-appropriate behaviour.
“By 12pm on Saturday, approximately 300 tickets were booked. Visitors can buy the tickets either through the zoo’s website or at the entry gates using QR codes. This time we will allow 1,500 entries in each slot. In total 3,000 visitors are allowed in the premises during the day. We have put up posters everywhere to urge visitors to maintain Covid-appropriate behaviour,” said Pandey.