Bhubaneswar, Jan. 1: New Year’s day for many today meant making the acquaintance of friends who walk on all fours.
Nandankanan zoo today witnessed a footfall of 50,338 people, breaking the previous record of the highest number of visitors to the zoo on a single day.
The previous highest footfall of visitors on a single day was recorded on last year’s New Year day, with 49,682 visitors thronging the zoo.
A revenue of Rs 9.03 lakh was collected today.
Sources said the zoo has been attracting thousands of visitors since last week.
The zoo was able to attract 30,785 visitors on Christmas last year.
The rush was so great that the zoo authorities had to check entry tickets manually as the six electronic gates installed at the entrance failed to check the crowd flow.
Keeping the huge rush in view, the zoo authorities had opened 16 ticket counters, seven more than on regular days.
To tackle any law and order situation, two sections of police forces had been also deployed at the zoo.
“All the officials of the director’s and deputy director’s office have been asked to be present so that we can make sure we can manage the rush and take care of any eventualities that may arise at this time,” said a senior zoo official.
The zoo authorities have also made arrangements for proper parking facilities to tackle the rush of vehicles. The authorities had convened a meeting with residents of two adjoining villages of Raghunathpur and Daruthenga, seeking their cooperation.
Sufficient manpower had been deployed inside the zoo to provide first aid to visitors should they need it.
“The zoo has a number of rare animals which I have never seen, along with facilities of animal safari and boating. For the first time, I had a close view of bears in the bear safari. I really enjoyed myself immensely. This was a beautiful beginning to the New Year for me,” said Sunam Panda, a school-going kid from Jharsuguda district.
Sources said the usual winter footfall at the zoo was about 20,000 every day while 65,000 foreigners visit the zoo in a year.
The recent introduction of arboretum, a collection of wild plants of 200 varieties, has attracted more foreign tourists.
The four safaris, including the bear safari, which is the recent addition to the zoo, also attracted a number of visitors. The zoo has three other animal safaris of white tiger, lion and herbivores.
The inclusion of a female giraffe last year had also added to the glory of the zoo.
The zoo at present has about 2,045 animals of 126 species. Over the years, the zoo has been able to attract an increasing number of tourists.
The zoo attracted mote than 24.5 lakh visitors in 2011-12 and a revenue of Rs 5.69 crore was generated during that period.
In 2010-11, the zoo had attracted more than 24 lakh visitors with a revenue collection of Rs 5.27 crore.