This enclosure is the first of its kind in North-East India. It has been designed with the latest modern concept of ‘immersion exhibit’. While constructing the park, behavior of each individual species were kept in mind to provide their natural habitat. So it is a lot more difficult to spot animals in this park unlike other zoos. To provide enough space for each animal the Park was built over an area of 205 hectares and sprawls over a whole mountain.
The Himalayan Zoological Park is 3km from Gangtok the capital city of Sikkim. The entrance of the park is just opposite Ganesh Tok and is at an altitude of 1,780m. The park can be reached by taxis by a one way road but walking could be a whole lot more fun. A walk from the entrance to the canteen in the centre of the Park took more than half an hour. Young fern plants sprang up by the roadside and bloomed with beautiful autumn blossoms. From higher points you could watch the pine covered mountain, sprinkled with bamboo plants. It is most likely that you’ll end up spotting just few animals because of the immense natural enclosure but the park in itself is worth seeing. For an avid hiker or walker, the silent road broken only by the songbirds is just the place to unwind! Unfortunately there are very few visitors as of now though things might soon change. The government is planning to install a ropeway to make it more accessible.
Established in 1991 and run by Government of Sikkim, the Park showcases Himalayan animals like the Black Bear, Goral, Barking Deer, Snow Leopard, Large Indian Civet, Serow, Himalayan Thar, Blue Sheep, Wolf, Pheasants, Red Panda and many more. Dangerous animals like Snow Leopards and Wolves are enclosed in smaller space and they are easier to spot.
It was early morning and you can feel the winter wind blowing down from the mountains. Most animals decided to laze inside their shelter and denied me any significant spotting. All I could see were some pheasants, a snow Leopard and Himalayan wolf. But the beautiful scenery and rich flora makes up for it. Least you be disappointed, there a signboard with these words, “If you are lucky you will see the animals. If not, do not be disheartened. We hope you’ll visit us again.” Let’s just look it this way; here the animals have their say. At least they are at home!