literally meaning "The Garden of Heaven"

Director's Desk

As its name signifies, Nandankanan is indeed a veritable Garden of Gods. With the largest animal collection of any zoo, this Zoological Park is recognized as one of the best zoos in India and is the only large zoo of the State. Established on 29th December 1960, Nandankanan over the years has witnessed significant improvements in providing the highest standards in housing, husbandry and health care to its denizens and a fascinating experience to itsvisitors. It enjoys a special place in the wildlife conservation annals of our country for its inimitable amalgamation of in-situ and ex-situ conservation initiatives. It is worth mentioning that the forested landscape encompassing the Zoological Park, Kanjia lake and State Botanical Garden has been declared as Nandankanan Wildlife Sanctuary, spread over an area of 4.37 on 3rd August, 1979. The sprawling zoo houses about 4100 plus individuals belonging to 162 species of mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians. Further, the Nandankanan Sanctuary is home to a rich assemblage of wild flora and free-living wildlife.The State Botanical Garden which spreads over an area of 75 ha adjoining the Zoological Park is one of the most important plant conservation facilities in the State with more than 750 species of plants having been documented. There are two important wetlands namely Kanjia lake (66 ha) and Kiakani lake (25 ha) in Sanctuary. The former is the main water source for Nandankanan Zoological Park and State Botanical Garden. It supportsa rich diversity of flora and fauna and is an ideal site for spreading awareness and education for conserving wetlands. Therefore, it has been listed as a Wetland of National importance by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India in the year 2006.

As the head of Team Nandankanan, it is my pleasure to inform you that we have completed another outstanding year of biodiversity conservation, zoo management, research and education. Nandankanan has been very popular, as always, among tourists and local inhabitants and has attracted 38,67,9994 visitors during the year 2022-23 and has earned a revenue of Rs. 20,58,52,862/- Significant improvements were achieved in the infrastructure development, animal collection, care of rescued and infant animals, health care, fodder production and conservation research. The zoo witnessed the first ever breeding of Indian Grey Wolf in its history when female wolf Indorigave birth to six pups of which two have attained adulthood. Other notable species whichwere born during the current year includes Mouse deer, Blackbuck, Hog deer, Stump-tailed macaque, Swamp deer, Jackal, Assamese macaque, Manipuri deer, Four-horned antelope, Indian gaur, Asiatic lion, Indian tiger, Indian pangolin, Indian grey wolf, Sambar, Bonnet macaque,Hippopotamus, Black kite, Painted stork, Grey pelican, Indian peafowl, Alexandrine parakeet, Blossom headed parakeet, Violet turaco, Openbill stork, Night heron, Barn owl, Mandarin duck, Star tortoise, Banded krait, Rat snake, Yellow anaconda, Monocellate cobra, Binocellate cobra and Water monitor lizard. Adding to its expertise in neo-natal care and hand-rearing of abandoned baby animals, the Zoo successfully reared very young babies of Indian grey wolf (2 nos), Sloth bear (1 no.), Blackbuck (1no.), Ratel (1 no.) and Asiatic lion (2nos.) during the period.During the financial year 2022-23, we have welcomed 09 animals of 02 species to the zoo in animal exchange programme with an objective of infusion of new blood line to the existing stock and also addition of new species to the zoo collection.

During the year, many enclosures and visitor amenities were renovated and supplemented with standoff barrier, signages and landscaping wherever necessary. Among the major developmental works carried out, Multi-level Car Parking, Zoo Laboratory, Modular Post-mortem and Incinerator Complex, Carnivore Quarantine Ward, Indian fox enclosure, renovation of Children’s Park, Nursery for hand rearing of animal babies and Operation Theater are worth mentioning.

As a commitment to in-situ conservation, during 2022-23, 2 male and four female gharials of 2.3m-3.8m tagged with satellite transmitters were released to the river Mahanadi under the Population Recovery of Gharial project spear-headed by Nandankanan. It was heartening that the natural breeding of Gharial occurred for the second consecutive year at Satkosia Gorge, the project implementation site. On 11th May 2022, 32 Gharial hatchlings hatched at the same nest from the same mother as the previous year. Community awareness activities were prioritized to protect gharials and their hatchlings by the field researchers in addition to daily monitoring of gharials.

Research is in the DNA of Nandankanan. Following the long-term commitment to scientific contribution, two research papers in various national and international journals and two books were published on numerous aspects of ex-situ conservation and managing captive wild animals. Significant enhancements of the Zoo Laboratory have taken place. Therefore, it is heartening that the year delivered several significant milestones.

As regards healthcare, the Zoo Hospital has witnessed a tremendous upgradation of facilities during the last year. The highest standards of health care and animal husbandry practices have resulted in a reduced annual death rate in 2022-23. This was possible due to sincere efforts by our zoo veterinarians, cooperation from the College of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, OUAT, Bhubaneswar, and valuable advice and guidance from the Health Committee and Technical Committee on important health care issues.

Many zoo education and citizen science programmes including Celebration of World Environment Day, International Tiger Day, Cheetah Awareness Week, World Elephant Day, Wildlife Week, World Wetland Day, World Pangolin Day and World Wildlife Day were organized during the year 2022-23. Nandankanan has started promoting Citizen Science (the voluntary involvement of the public in scientific study) in a big way. Various programs include Sunday Bird Walk, Tree Walk, Butterfly and Moth Watch, Nature Trail Walks and Herp Walks were conducted at regular intervals. Eight interns completed their internship work and submitted their thesis.

Needless to say, all this could not have been achieved but for the sincere efforts of all members of Team Nandankanan, and I would take this opportunity to thank them all – our dedicated staff, members of various technical and advisory committees and senior officers. I am optimistic that with the hard work of our staff and sound advice from our mentors, aided by the constant guidance of the Chief Wildlife Warden and ACS, Forest, Environment & Climate Change Department, we will continue to build upon our impactful legacy and forge ahead with determination towards fulfillingthe vision of our Hon’ble Chief ministerto transform Nandankanan into a world-class zoo.

Sri Manoj V. Nair, IFS
Director, Nandankanan Biological Park