The 162-year-old Veermata Jijabai Bhosle Botanical Garden & Zoological Museum launched a 'Crocodile Trail' with an underwater viewing deck, billed as the first of its kind in Asia, to view crocodiles and gharials, officials said here on Monday.
The 'Croc Trail' - presently with three crocodiles and two gharials on the prowl - opened on Sunday to chills and thrills among the first awestruck viewers to the Byculla Zoo, as it is popularly known.
Spread over nearly one acre of water and greenery, the Croc Trail has separate enclosures for the crocodiles and gharials, and more shall be added here from other zoos in the country.
The highlight is the submerged deck in the lake from where the visitors can simultaneously get a magnificent view of the crocodiles and gharials prancing under the murky waters, akin to their natural surroundings in the wild, and being fed their favourite foods.
The Croc Trail is the brainchild of BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation Administrator I.S. Chahal, Additional Municipal Commissioner Ashwini Bhide and Deputy Municipal Commissioner Kishore Gandhi and was under implementation for several months at the zoo, sprawling over 20 hectares in south Mumbai.
"The underwater glass deck enables the experience of a live aquarium and also has an elevated platform from which an upper view is available for the visitors to enjoy," said an official
Presently, the zoo's chief attractions are the Humboldt Penguins colony, a first in India, bears, tigers, leopards, waterfowls and other animals that lure upto 35K visitors on weekends and 22K on weekdays.
Incidentally, many years ago, there was a small crocodile enclosure in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), while a private adventurer operates a natural open Konkan Crocodile Safari in the River Vashisht in Ratnagiri.
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