Earlier known as 'The Manchester of Asia’s and 'Cawnpore', Kanpur is now the industrial hub of Uttar Pradesh. The city encloses beautiful monuments, parks, and has major role in history. A major attractions of Kanpur is the Allen Forest Zoo which is also known as Kanpur Zoo.
Allen Forest Zoo is one of the only zoos in India which was created in a natural forest. It is also the largest green area in the city. The zoo has lush green flora, ancient trees and is spread across 77 hectares. This makes it the largest zoological garden in Asia.
Even though the park was constructed in 1971, it’s original idea was initiated in 1913-1318 but wasn’t fruitful. The idea is credited to Sir Burney Allen and the zoo is named after him. Sir Burney Allen was a member of the British Indian Civil Services. However he wasn’t succesful in designing the zoo and his files were stuck in courts. The first animal in the forest was caught by a fisger on the banks of Chambal river. It was an otter.
Two very famous animals reside in the zoo, a 26 year old chimpanzee called Chhajju and a 30 year old orangutan called Mangal. Both of them live on their own person islands. Other animals include hippopotamus, leopard, sloth, black bear, cheetah, deer, langur, antelope, baboons, grizzly bear, hyena and jaguar. Some animals like monkeys and deer roam freely in the zoo instead of staying in the enclosures. There are several amphibians as well like the Indian Gharial. There used to a lion in the zoo too but he lost his life due to an unknown infection in 2010.
The zoo is a perfect place to spend time as it has some activity for people of all ages. It’s attractions include a botanical garden, an aviary, life-size dinosaur sculpture, lake, night-house and toy train.
(I) Botanical garden:
This garden is home to many of the rare species of plants that are found in India. There are plenty of Sylvan lakes. It is a popular spot for family picnics, school trips and outdoor recreational activities. It’s maintenance is the responsibility of professional forest conservationists.
The aviary is full of both Indian and foreign birds. There are emus from Australia and New Zealand and Ostriches from Africa as well as cranes, parakeets and parrots as well as many Indian birds.
(III) Life-size Dinosaur Sculpture
Transport yourself to the prehistoric era by visiting this exhibit. There are beautiful sculptures of dinosaurs in place for all to enjoy.
There is a Rainwater lake as well which is basically in the heart of the park and is hence the centre of attention. Those visiting can se lots of deer grazing peacefully without a predator in sight.
There are rare night creatures in the zoo. They are kept in a separate facility. There are porcupines, Asian palm civet and many more nocturnal animals.
(VI) Toy train:
Visitors can soon enjoy a toy train which is being constructed there for the ease of tourists. However it will cause a major environmental loss due to the placement of tracks.
There is also an aquarium for those who are fascinated by sea creatures.
Plastic is banned from the zoo premises. No water bottles and polythene bags can be taken inside. Photography is allowed but feeding the animals is not recommended except in the assigned areas. There is a vet hospital too. They treat nearly 1400 animals most of the time due to injuries caused by humans.
The enclosures are spacious and well designed. They are all spread around the lake. The opening hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Allen Forest Zoo is the perfect place to spend a day. It is place where you won’t notice where he time went and would love to stay longer.