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Kolkata, Alipore zoos to host virtual tour to live stream its animals

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 16-08-2020 HT Correspondent

Animal lovers would now be able to see where the red panda of the Padmaja Naidu Zoo in Darjeeling is hiding or what the chimpanzee is doing in its enclosure at the Alipore Zoo in Kolkata, courtesy a live streaming.

The two main zoos of West Bengal took the digital route on Sunday. This would allow people to watch some of the big animals live on Facebook, while sitting in their homes at least for two hours every day. All they need to do is to log in at the zoos’ Facebook page and enjoy.

“As of now we would be showing some of the major attractions of the two zoos every day live for two hours – one hour each in the morning (9 am – 10 am) and in the afternoon (3 pm – 4 pm). The duration could be increased depending upon the response,” said Rajib Banerjee, state forest minister, after launching the facility.

While the Alipore Zoo – the oldest in the country – has many endangered and exotic species such as the tiger, elephant, lion, kangaroos, giraffes, anaconda and chimpanzee, among others; the Darjeeling Zoo, which specializes in conservation of Himalayan species, has the red panda, snow leopard, blue sheep, Tibetan wolf and the salamander as some of its major attractions.

“There are 12 zoos in West Bengal which attract around 50 lakh visitors round the year. The Alipore Zoo and the Darjeeling zoo together attract more than 40 lakh visitors. The zoos have been closed since March 17 due to the pandemic,” a senior zoo official said.

The authorities are also planning to add a voiceover during the live sessions with some description about the animal that is being shown to make it more informative. People will be able to have a 360-degree view of the animals in the live session The authorities launched a mobile app in April to host virtual tours.

The Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai was the first zoo in India to start live streaming of animals in their enclosures, almost two years back. The zoo now has live streaming of 14 species including tiger, lion, and hippos with the help of 180 cameras installed in the zoo. For the lockdown period, the authorities have added a special feature in which they are focusing one animal at a time to show some particular activity of the animal - for example an elephant enjoying a shower.

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