People will be allowed to visit the National Zoo from 1 November by complying with health safety guidelines
After a 225-day closure due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the National Zoo in the capital's Mirpur is ready with a new look to welcome visitors again.
More than 115 baby animals that were born during the closure will greet visitors at the zoo from 1 November.
Officials said they have carried out all the necessary work to give the zoo a facelift. Structures have been painted, trees trimmed and repairs completed.
National Zoo officials say visitors have been denied access for the past seven and a half months due to the pandemic and during this time more than 115 babies of different types of animals were born.
Abdul Latif, curator of the Bangladesh National Zoo, described the births of such a large number of animals as a blessing for the zoo as well as the nation.
"It can also be called a record in one respect. The baby animals include: zebras, giraffes, donkeys, monkeys, hippopotami, deer, and horses. And some babies have hatched from ostrich and peacock eggs," he said.
"But another thing is that the zoo has got a new look. The surroundings have been covered by greenery because for a long time people did not move around in this place," he added.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock announced the closure of the National Zoo on 20 March due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.
The government has now allowed the reopening of the zoo upon a number of conditions, including maintaining health safety guidelines.
The decision came months after the withdrawal of a shutdown and restrictions put in place on 26 March to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Officials at the National Zoo say the number of animal births increased after visitors were barred from entering the zoo to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Abdul Latif told The Business Standard (TBS), "There are about 2,800 animals in the zoo. We have given them nutritionally balanced feed every day since the start of the general holiday."
"Due to this they were quite comfortable. Immunity was increased. They were not infected with any disease. The visitors did not bother them either. Due to this, fertility also increased," he continued.
During a conversation with this correspondent, the curator claimed, "No animals were killed or stolen at the zoo during this pandemic period."
He said that there are several dogs inside the zoo and the authorities have vaccinated so that they can do no harm to humans and animals.
National Zoo Information Officer Waliur Rahman told TBS, "The animals had a good holiday. Animals like to live in forests on their own – but in the zoo, they are now living a captive life. From that point of view, they are not living a normal life."
"But one thing is when the zoo is open, many of the visitors annoy animals by going close to their cages. In that consideration, since then they have been pretty good for seven months," he added.
However, the official said that due to the presence of so many animals in the 86-acre area of the zoo and the shortage of manpower, they also have limitations in some cases. But they hope to overcome the problems soon.
Meanwhile, according to the National Zoo, an electric ferris wheel has been set up for the entertainment of children and a "selfie plaza" has been set up for young men and women.
The zoo is visited by people of different ages and professions. This place is the centre of interest of children and youths. And in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the government has extended the holidays in educational institutions till 14 November.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim said the decision was taken to open the zoo in compliance with hygiene norms as there was no significant alternative for the entertainment of the people in Dhaka during the Covid-19 crisis.
In this case, the food, regular care and healthcare of the animals at the zoo as well as the loss of revenue to the government have also been taken into consideration.