With new attractions being incorporated and more in the pipeline, Chattogram Zoo has started to draw huge numbers of visitors.
Last year, the zoo saw around 8.5 lakh visitors, the highest turnout since its inception in 1989, after a number of new animals were introduced.
Despite increment in ticket pricing, people are thronging the zoo due to the efforts of the authorities concerned in reviving the zoo through improved collection and better maintenance and security.
The zoo authorities are planning to continue the trend this year. The zoo will add five ostriches, six emus, four kangaroos and two camels -- at a cost of Tk 1 crore -- this month.
Ticket price was raised to Tk 30 from Tk 20 in February last year, which was then raised to Tk 50 in phases for renovation and purchasing new animals, they added.
“Tickets are our only source of income. Since recreational places have always been scarce in the city, people don't mind paying some extra for spending time with their family in a fun and secured place. The zoo is providing that space,” said Dr Shahadat Hossain Shuvo, deputy curator.
He said the zoo brought six zebras from South Africa last year, which garnered much enthusiasm among visitors.
The crowd increased further after Pori, a female tiger, gave birth to triplets on July 19, 2018. “One of the cubs turned out to be an albino, and that added more enthusiasm among animal lovers,” he added. The zoo now boasts 65 species of birds, reptiles and mammals.
With an aim to continue offering visitors new attractions, the authorities also built an aviary on November 21 last year.
But the condition was quite different even around two years back. For lack of animals, unsafe and unhygienic condition and disturbance of hawkers, turnout of animal lovers and enthusiast visitors was significantly low.
To change the scenario, the zoo authorities renovated the entire area, constructed boundary walls, walkways for easy access, new public toilets, zone for children and quarantine room, said senior assistant commissioner Ruhul Amin, also member secretary of the zoo executive committee.
He said they have a spare space of around 48,000 square feet on the west side of the zoo, where accommodation for the newcomers would be built.
With an area of five acres of land, the zoo is located about three kilometers north-east of the city, alongside the entrance of Foy's lake.