Mysore/Mysuru: The Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, popular as Mysuru Zoo, is awaiting directions from the State Government to open its doors to the visitors and patrons. A proposal has been sent to the Government by the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) seeking permission to open all the nine Zoos in the State including the one in Mysuru.
The Mysuru Zoo has been closed for visitors ever since the nationwide lockdown was imposed and closure during peak summer season has dented its revenues, forcing the Zoo authorities and the elected representatives to send out an appeal for funds. Now as the lockdown has eased a bit, the ZAK has sought permission to re-open the Zoo with lot of precautions.
“We are ready to open the Zoo for public and the ZAK has prepared a Standard Operating Procedures that will apply to all Zoos of Karnataka including ours. As soon as the Government accepts our proposal we will be back in action,” Zoo Executive Director Ajit M. Kulkarni told ‘Star of Mysore’ this morning and added that as of now, there is no green signal from the Government to open the Zoo from June 1.
The Mysuru Zoo earns anywhere between Rs. 3 crore and Rs. 5 crore from March to May, that is summer season and even if the Zoo opens at this juncture, it has to follow the prescribed norms. “People will naturally crowd the Zoo campus and we have to ensure that enough precautions are taken for crowd management and streamlining,” he said.
The ZAK’s 28-page ‘Standard Operating Guidelines on Reopening Post-Covid-19 Lockdown’ has to be followed when the gates are open. The guidelines say, with the opening of district, State and country borders for vehicle, train and air travel, the number of people visiting the Zoo is likely to increase over a period though it is expected that the number of visitors going to be much lower than earlier normal period.
“Now there is a real scare and people might not come here as soon as the Zoo is open. But the crowd will definitely surge after a few days and we are prepared for it,” Kulkarni said and added that though the guidelines may cause some inconvenience to visitors and staff there is no way but to accept the new normal till the time normalcy returns.
“For the safety of everyone, both staff, animals and guests, we will have to limit the number of visitors in the park. Social distancing will be observed in the queue and throughout the Zoo and several new cleaning procedures have been implemented.”
There is a 3.5-km long visitor path with an average width of 6 metres. “It is assumed that visitors use 2 metres on both sides of the pathway and the remaining 2 metres can be provisioned for movement of battery-operated vehicles, movement of feed vehicles and Zoo staff,” the guidelines say.
A visitor takes around 3 hours to cover the Zoo by walk with a normal walking speed of around 6 km per hour. Safe distance between visitors required to ensure social distance is 6 feet (2 metres). So, the number of visitors, who can be safely accommodated at any given point of time, is 3,100 inside the Zoo. Safely, 166 visitors per 10 minutes and 8,000 visitors per day can be allowed,” the guidelines say.
Online ticket booking
All visitors must compulsorily wear face masks – a counter will be set up at the entrance to sell masks — and undergo body temperature scanning and people with cough, cold or fever symptoms must be denied entry. Instead of physical tickets, e-ticket booking is preferred.
All visitors should pass over the medicated foot mat at the entrance. They should maintain social distance on the Zoo and avoid touching barricades and other surfaces. They should move along the designated visitor path only. Avoid carrying luggage, which needs a locker room facility. Visitors should neither spit nor must chew pan masala, gutka or khaini and those above 65 years of age avoid visiting.
Ensure that there is minimal interaction with Zoo staff and even if it is required ensure social distance of minimum of 10 feet. All visitors will be under CCTV camera monitoring and any violation will attract a penalty of up to Rs 1,000. Apart from these guidelines, there are standard operating procedures to be followed by the Zoo staff, feeders and battery-operated vehicle drivers, too.