The busy ticket counters in front of the Mirpur zoo were closed. No visitors were in sight.
On a usual day, gateman Mojid has a lot to do from dawn to dusk. But now, the lonely man sits on a chair with nothing to do, and no company except for a stray dog, napping nearby.
The dog suddenly got up and walked inside the zoo, but Mojid did not move. He was wearing a PPE and his goggles pushed up to his forehead.
"We are closed until further notice," he snapped as we approached the gates. He would not let us in, but finally agreed after repeated requests.
The hustle and bustle of the zoo has disappeared. Only a few staff were inside discussing and anticipating how long the shutdown may linger.
We were greeted by the beautiful Marabou Stork, who was taking a worried stride inside its cage. As we tried to find its reason for worry, the chirping of unknown birds came as a treat to our ears.
As we progressed, the garbage-free pathway caught our eye. It looked like a red carpet, covered by the fallen Krisnochura flowers.
The usual over-crowded zoo has turned into a serene garden during lockdown.
"We closed the zoo for visitors on March 24" said Dr Md Nurul Islam, curator of the National Zoo. The staff are carrying out their usual roster duty.
"A desolated zoo is a new experience for us as well," he said.
Sarwar Rony, a nutritionist in the animal caretaker department said, without visitors, maintenance have become easier and the animals are doing a lot better now.
"Visitors hit the animals with sticks, throw stones at them, and scare them with camera flash. The animals get restless and disturbed around the visitors. Now they are doing a lot better without such torture," he explained.
He said, he has noticed a rare bird named "Hudhud" for the first time in the zoo during lockdown.
We saw the deer enjoying their lunch. Some of them paused and posed for the camera.
The Royal Bengal Tigers appeared to like our company. They looked at us, as if they want to be pampered.
"They sometimes act violent if irritated. But they were nicer with you as they understand people and their intention," said Rakib, who feeds the tigers.
Six new born giraffes were enjoying their meal inside the cage as their caretaker Mirza Abdullah stood beside them. For him, the giraffes are like his own children.
"A cage is not the place for these animals. Keeping them here is torture enough for them," said Mirza.
He said the authorities fail to protect the animals as they do not have the workforce to guide the visitors.
He is happy because during lockdown the animals are not getting harassed.
He is enjoying the greenery of the zoo and hoping that the people will come out well-mannered after the lockdown.