Rare photos of 1958 eastablished Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, India. A zoo was established on August 14, 1958 in the Birch Hill neighbourhood of Darjeeling under the Department of Education of the Government of West Bengal with a goal to study and preserve Himalayan fauna.
Its first Director and founder was Dilip Kumar Dey. Mr. Dey, who belonged to the Indian Forest Service was on deputation to the Department of Education for the express purpose of establishing a high-altitude zoological Park specializing mainly in Himalayan flora and fauna.
The Park’s prized possessions were a pair of Siberian (Ussuri) tigers presented to the Government of India by Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev in 1960. Over the years famous names in the world of Conservation have been attracted to and have visited the HZP.
The zoo now contains endangered animals like snow leopards, red pandas, gorals (mountain goat), Siberian tigers and a variety of endangered birds.
However, there has been concern regarding the fact that the Himalayan animals may face a threat due to rising temperatures in the hilly area.
In January 1972, the park became a registered society, with an agreement that maintenance costs would be shared by the central and state governments. In May 1993, the park was transferred to the West Bengal Department of Forests.
The park was renamed in 1975 when Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, visited the park and dedicated it to the memory of Padmaja Naidu. The current Director of the Zoological Park is Shri A.K Jha, IFS.