Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s only zoo, Nandankanan, has been badly battered by Cyclone Fani and will reopen on May 21.
The devastating cyclone Fani didn’t take long to destroy the zoo. The trees from the main gate to Daruthenga area have got destroyed. The broken trees have now been cleared. The situation is gradually returning to normal. Restoration work is underway as the state government has decided to reopen the zoo on May 21.
Environmentalists say it will take 20 years to restore the trees, for which zoo guides, foresters, and forest department employees are putting their minds together. Even electricians are working 24×7 on the premises.
Cyclone Fani has damaged many parts of the zoo. So the authorities closed the zoo for 20 days. Earlier, during other cyclones, the zoo was closed for five days.
Notably, the zoo houses over 3,000 animals belonging to 156 species. The adjoining State Botanical Garden (which together with the zoo forms a sanctuary), too, has been badly damaged in the devastating cyclone that wreaked havoc on May 3.
Facilities meant for tourists, including recreational areas for children, have also been damaged. The forest and environment department has assessed losses of over Rs 537 crore in the cyclone.
Around nine lakh trees have been damaged in the forest and sanctuary areas, and over five lakh trees were uprooted/damaged outside the forest areas during the storm. Besides, eight lakh saplings were damaged.
According to sources, this is the worst calamity to have hit the zoo since the 1999 Super Cyclone. The following year the zoo lost a dozen tigers to Trypanosomiasis, a disease spread by flies.