The Thiruvananthapuram zoo has been set up in fifty five acres and is considered as an oldest zoo in India. It was set up in the year 1857 by the British resident William Cullen and Maharaja of Travancore. This was annexed to the Napier Museum. The goal of the zoo is conservation of wildlife in its natural habitat. Though the zoo was set up for recreation purpose, owing to the decline in habitat the goal was shifted to conservation of wildlife. Initially, the zoo had the traditional iron bars which were later renovated in the year 1995 by the Government of Kerala with the help of the Central Zoo Authority. The zoo now has closed animal enclosures in its natural habitat. More than eighty two species of animals can be found in the Thiruvananthapuram zoo. Various species of animals belonging to different parts of the world can be found here.
The zoo also has a snake farm in which both type venomous and non-venomous snakes are showcased. The reptiles in the zoo include Anaconda, Indian Rock Python, Rat Snake, Russell’s Viper, Checkered keelback, King Cobra, Red Sandboa, Gharial, Mugger Crocodile, Spectacled Caiman, Monitor Lizard, Bamboo Pit Viper, Indian Cobra, Green Tree Snake, Indian Flapshell Turtle, Indian Black Turtle, Crowned River Turtle, and Travancore Tortoise. The birds found in the Thiruvananthapuram zoo include Ostrich, Scarlet macaw, Green winged macaw, Indian Peafowl, White Spoonbill, Cassowary, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Common Crane, White Necked Crane, Black Necked Crane, Grey Heron, White Ibis, Blossom Headed Parakeet, Roseringed Parakeet, Alexandrine Parakeet, Moustached Parakeet, Grey Pelican, Rosy Pelican, Silver Pheasant, Ring Necked Pheasant, Rock Dove, Adjutant Stork, Painted Stork, White Stork, White Necked Stork, Black Necked Stork, Cinerous Vulture, King Vulture, White Backed Vulture, Pariah Kite, Brahminy Kite, and Emu. The colours and call of these birds is truly an experience for a bird enthusiast. All the animals are placed on a healthy diet by the zoo keeping authorities. The name of the animal, with its scientific name, diet and its zoo keeper is placed on a board outside every enclosure. Strict rules are kept up in the zoo by the zoo officials and other NGO’s for the smooth and effective functioning of the Thiruvananthapuram zoo. The Thiruvananthapuram zoo has species like the Niligiri langur, Asiatic elephants, and the Bengal tiger. Hippopotamus, giraffes, rhinoceros, zebra, barking deer and cape buffalos are other animals that are found in this zoo.
Visitors should never feed the zoo animals as they are kept on a strict diet. No smoking is allowed inside the Zoo. Visitors in the zoo are requested to maintain silence so as to not startle the animals. Jeering or making fun of the animals is strictly prohibited too. Care must be taken by the visitors to maintain a pollution free environment. Please dispose the garbage in the designated places only. Littering may attract vermin which is quite dangerous to certain species in the zoo.
The essential functions of the Thiruvananthapuram zoo include conservation of wildlife, systematic breeding of endangered species, educating the youth about the environment and wildlife.
The best time to visit the zoo is from September to May though the zoo is open all through the year except on Mondays. The Thiruvananthapuram zoo is open from nine in the morning to six thirty in the evening.
The tariff per adult is rupees fifteen. For children between six and fourteen the tariff is rupees three and entry ticket is free for children below five years of age. Excursions and study tours are also allowed in the zoo. The cost of this is rupees seventy five for every thirty five students and two teachers.
The zoo is located about three kilometres from the Thiruvananthapuram railway station and about nine kilometres from the Thiruvananthapuram airport. It is also well connected by the KSRTC buses and other private buses. It ideally takes a day’s time to visit all the habitats in the zoo.