The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP) in West Bengal’s Darjeeling has been adjudged the best zoo in the country, while Kolkata’s Alipore Zoological Garden has secured the fourth position. There are around 150 zoos across the country. As per the list, the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai has secured the second position, followed by the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens in Mysore, Karnataka.
The zoological park is internationally recognised for its breeding and conservation programmes of endangered animal species of the eastern Himalayas, including the Snow Leopard and the Red Panda. The Red Panda is one of the top attractions of PNHZP, besides others such as the Himalayan Black Bear, Snow Leopard, Goral and Himalayan Thar.
About the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park:
- Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (also called the Darjeeling Zoo) is a 67.56-acre (27.3 ha) zoo in the town of Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal.
- The zoo was opened in 1958, and an average elevation of 7,000 feet (2,134 m), is the largest high-altitude zoo in India. It specializes in breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions and has successful captive breeding programs for the snow leopard, the critically endangered Himalayan wolf and the red panda.
- The zoo attracts about 300,000 visitors every year. The park is named after Padmaja Naidu (1900–1975), the daughter of Sarojini Naidu. The zoo serves as the central hub for the Central Zoo Authority of India’s red panda program and is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.