The entry tickets are available only online, taking many visitors off-guard. Javed, a 23-year-old student, had problems gaining entry. “Admission is only through online tickets or by scanning a QR code. I don’t use online payment apps and so there was no way for me to go in. I had cash, but there was no provision for ticket sale,” he said.
For a year now, Covid-19 has been playing cat and mouse with us. Cases rise, fall, then rise again. The key to restoring new normalcy is to choose the right time to open up. Strangely, the Delhi zoo stayed shut right through winter when cases were down and is reopening now when cases are spiralling again. One hopes that the authorities will enforce mask usage and other precautions with utmost seriousness among visitors.
Ramesh Pandey, director, Delhi Zoo, said Thursday’s feedback from people will be considered while increasing the number of QR code boards to make ticket purchasing easier. The number of gates open to allow entry is also likely to be increased.
“The arrangements in place are meant to handle a limited crowd, so we will gradually relax the limit on the number of visitors,” said Pandey. “We have to ensure it is safe inside the zoo and all Covid guidelines are followed, including wearing of masks. We disinfect the railings and other areas in the one-hour period just before the second shift from 1pm to 5 pm.”
Avishek Banerjee had brought his four-year-old daughter and wife, having wanted to visit the zoo for some time. He had frequently called the zoo in the last couple of months to find out when it would reopen. “We came early when the park is relatively empty and cool. My daughter wanted to see elephants and tigers,” he smiled.
Student Saarthak Jain felt the restricted crowd was a good idea because it would reassure visitors. “After reading about this, I decided to come to the zoo with friends. It is peaceful inside and it is good to see some new animals too,” said Jain.
During the lockdown, the zoo brought in more animals, increasing the number of species present from 83 to 88. A sloth bear, for instance, is a new resident. Other additions, such as an ostrich, are likely to arrive later this month.