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The Zoo is 2 km from the Barang Railway Station (East Coast-Railway), 17 Km from Cuttack and about 10kms from the northern fringe of the State capital.

The zoo houses several species of regional significance that include three species of Crocodiles, Pangolin, Ratel, Sambar, Mouse deer, Black buck, Chousingha, Panther, Small Indian civet, Brahminy Kite, Storks, Hill mynah which deserve mention for their captive breeding. Other species are Rhino, Manipuri deer, Barasingha, Wild ass, Tiger, Himalayan black bear, Nilgai, Lion tailed macaque, and Nilgir langur. Exotic species such as Chimpanzee, Orangutan, Hippo, and Zebra provide additional attraction for the visitors.

The Zoo has 151 species in its collection, of which 44 require special conservation effort for being included in Scheduled-I & II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act. Important endangered species housed in Nandankanan include: Gharial, Estuarine Crocodile, Mugger crocodile, Peafowl, White-necked stork, Tiger, Leopard, Himalayan Black bear, Sloth bear, Manipuri deer, Barasingha, Nilgir langur, Lion-tailed macaque, Indian pangolin, Blackbuck ,etc.

At present, the Zoo has 93 animal enclosures. 58 are in the shape of cages and 35 have peripheral moat. The 151 species in the zoo comprise of 75 species of birds, 49 species of mammals, and 27 species of reptiles. There are also 36 species of fishes as exhibits. The Zoo has consistently maintained its status as a large zoo.

Number of species and total number of animals displayed in the zoo
in recent years are as follows:

Year No. of species / Total no. of animals      
  Mammals Birds Reptiles Total
1999-2000 52 / 537 55 / 286 16 / 82 123 / 905
2000-2001 46 / 490 55 / 290 16 / 89 117 / 869
2001-2002 46 / 426 59 / 253 21 / 88 126 / 767
2002-2003 49 / 419 65 / 450 23 / 98 137 / 967
2003-2004 49 / 460 75 / 536 27 / 113 151 / 1109

Nandankanan acquired its first tiger in 1964 and the first open air tiger-enclosure now known as the 'Kanan' enclosure was constructed in 1967 when Kanan, a tigress from the adjoining Chandaka forests (now a sanctuary), jumped into one of the tiger enclosures and remained in captivity. The Zoo has so far reared 327 tigers that has passed through many planned breedings. Contrary to the concept that every white tiger has a Rewa-lineage, Nandankanan has white tigers which are not linked to Rewa. The first white tigers of Nandankanan were chance-born to normal-coloured tigers in the year 1980, and currently the zoo has a collection of 10 white tigers.

Nandankanan, built up in a natural setting has captive bred animals of both Indian and exotic species. Such exotic species include Hippopotamus, Emu, Zebra, Wallaby, and Capybara. The records of first breeding of different Indian species are as follows:
Gharial ………………. 07. 05.1980 (This is a world record, as no where else Gharials had bred in captivity.)
Mugger crocodile…….. 08. 03.1982
Indian python.............. 27. 04.1978
Estuarine crocodile..... 15. 04.1985
Water monitor lizard… 28. 04.1996

White necked stork…. 25. 3.1996
Grey heron…………… 30. 5.2000


Pangolin - 07. 04.1977
Himalayan black bear - 03. 01.1982
Lion tailed macaque - 04. 01.1982
Indian porcupine - 07. 02.1986
Sloth bear - 30. 01.2001


As an adjunct to the captive breeding programme, Nandankanan has undertaken reintroduction programme for species like Gharial, Mugger, Blackbuck and Spotted deer under which captive bred animals have been released in the wild. In this programme 448 Gharials have been released in Mahanadi river system.

The Zoo has the expertise to rescue and rehabilitate injured, abandoned, orphaned and problematic wild animals. The rescued animals are provided veterinary care and treatment before returning back to nature. The Zoo has rescued scheduled-I animals like leopard cub, baby elephant, pangolin, four horned antelope, barking deer, sloth bear, porcupine, ratel, mouse deer, fresh water turtle, and Indian tent turtle.

Outreach activities of Nandankanan include an 'Interpretation Centre' setup in 1996, training programmes for Zoo Keepers and local guides, publication of brochures, booklets and stickers, and display of signage depicting habit, habitat, food and reproductive status of animals housed in each enclosure. On the occasion of Wildlife Week, World Biodiversity Day, Zoo Week, World Conservation Day, World Environment Day, Animal Welfare Fortnight, etc. training camps are organized for school students to give them a first-hand experience of different aspects of wild animal behaviour and conservation of wildlife.

For achieving self-sufficiency in feed supply to the wild herbivores in the Zoo, a fodder farm extending over 33 Ac. was established in 1997. An area of 8.5 Ac. has been planted with Paragrass and 3.5 Ac. is planted with Napier-Bajra-21 as cultivated crop while seasonal crops like Stylo, Maize and Cow pea is cultivated over 3 Ac. of area. The balance area is managed as natural grassland from which common grass is harvested. The fodder farm yields about 15 Qntl. grass fodder daily. The use of pesticide or chemical fertilizer has not been allowed in the fodder farm, but application of bioforterliser and Azobacter inoculation are carried out periodically to maintain productivity.

About 14 lakh visitors come to the zoo in a year. Data on annual visitor flow and revenue earned for the last four years are given in the following Table.

The Zoo has more than 200 research papers published on different aspects of husbandry and management of Zoo animals in different reputed national and international journals, magazine, etc. Research work taken in this Zoo has led to one Ph.D. and one M.Phil degree in the past.

Blood samples of the tigers of this Zoo have been tested in the CCMB (Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad) and it is ascertained that inbreeding coefficient is low among tigers of Nandankanan. A Stud Book for Zoo tigers of Nandankanan is meticulously maintained. Planned breeding of tigers is more or less a regular feature here.

Visitor appreciation facilities like Toy Train, Boating, Children's Park, Lion Safari, White Tiger Safari, Aquarium, Rope way, etc. have been kept well maintained and functional throughout the year. With lakhs of visitors to the Zoo, it has remained a potential center for conservation education. New gadgets like swings, slides, merry-go-round, rocking chair with animated moulds have been installed in the Childrens' Park.



10, 01,083
65, 49,691/-
11, 98,662
80, 72,655/-
12, 99,043
90, 41,251/-
13, 37,364
89,29, 602/-
12, 41,080
13, 05,759
15, 08,887



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