The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had established a small zoo named Peshwe Park, in 1953 on approximately
7 acres of land, at the base of the Parvati hills, where Madhavrao Peshwahad his private menagerie in 1780.
This zoo was located in the heart of the city and was fashioned along the old system of exhibiting animals
in concrete cages with iron bars. There was a need therefore to establish a modern zoo with an objective of
providing bigger, better and naturalistic enclosures, in accordance with the Central Zoo Authority guidelines.
A new zoo site was thus selected at Katraj and its development was initiated in 1997.
The animals from Peshwe Park were to be shifted to this new zoo site.
The zoo was re-named as the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park and Wildlife Research Centre (RGZP) and is
still in the process of completion. It was inaugurated on the 14th March 1999. The zoo area is now 130 acres
which also encompasses a water body popularly called as the Katraj Lake. The zoo is currently recognized
and categorized as a large zoo by the Central Zoo Authority and houses 362 animals, of which 147 animals
are classified as endangered and critically endangered as per the schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act of India.
The animal collection and the zoo premises are cared for by a dedicated work-force of around 100 personnel.
At the time of inauguration, the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park displayed the snake park, sambars, spotted deer
and monkeys. Over the years all the animals from Peshwe Park have been shifted to Katraj; the last of the lot
being shifted on 16th March 2005. All the animals are now housed in spacious, naturalistic, moated enclosures.
The zoo is being designed and developed with the aim of contributing to the ex-situ conservation of the critically endangered fauna of the Western Ghats. One of our goals is to promote awareness of our precious bio-diversity
to the zoo visitors and inculcate in them a sense of responsibility to conserve them. We aim to achieve this through interpretation, education programmes and interesting signage. The wildlife research centre has been established
to promote and carry out research in wild animals as even today, there is not a lot of data available on wild animal physiology, behaviour, diseases and treatment.
In the recent years, the zoo has been successful in the captive breeding of many endangered animals like
the Bengal tiger, sloth bear, four horned antelope, blackbuck, monitor lizard, jackal, peacock, Russell’s viper,
Indian cobra, etc.
The objective of the zoo is to promote and conserve the Western Ghat species.
We aim to achieve this by:
Promoting captive breeding of endangered species of the Western Ghats,
Educating the zoo visitors of the role of modern zoos in wildlife conservation via the means of
appropriate signage and interpretive exhibits
Conducting research on the behavioral, biological and veterinary aspects of wildlife.
Proposed Organogram of the
Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park & Wildlife Research Centre, Katraj, Pune