People wanting to visit the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP), which has always remained one of the most soughtafter tourist spots in Darjeeling, can now watch the animals there live in the PNHZP Facebook page. The PNHZP, which has a wide variety of animals and birds, is closed since mid- March, owing to the Covid- 19 pandemic and the lockdown.

“Following directions from Kolkata, the PNHZP started going Live on Facebook from today to showcase our animals to viewers now confined to their homes because of the pandemic,” said a source at the zoo here. Among the animals that were shown today include the popular red panda, for which the PNHZP specializes in captive breeding, Markhor, a highly endangered Himalayan animal, among others.

According to a state government directive, the Alipore and Darjeeling zoos will go live in the morning from 9 am to 10 am and in the evening from 3 pm to 4 pm. However, sources said that the modalities for this would be worked out soon, as zoo authorities here will have to see if they can go live daily, given the poor Internet network issues.

The zoo here, established in 1958, is the largest high altitude zoo in the country with it attracting 5,000-plus tourists per day in the peak tourist season. The PNHZP is recognised internationally for its conservation and breeding programmes of the red panda, snow leopard, Tibetan wolf and other endangered species like the Blue sheep, Himalayan thar, Himalayan Monal, Red Jungle fowl and the Himalayan newt (salamander). PNHZP Director Dharam Deo Rai could not be contacted for comment.