Birds of Many Feathers

Destination Issue 38 Aug, 2010
Text by Dinesh Rai

The Jawalakhel Zoo
The zoo was teeming with school children. In fact, every time I stray into this oasis in the midst of concrete and brick structures, I find plenty of children playing about or riding an elephant. Where else can you take these children? But that’s not what lures me to the zoo. It’s our exotic feathered friends who inhabit part of the compound. I’ve always wondered how these birds acquired such colorful feathers and why only the males. IUCN has lent a hand in identifying the various species and one can actually learn a bit about them by reading the little board that has their generic name and description on it.

The zoo itself has seen some improvement in recent years. Now the bird section has its own restaurant although the food is nothing to rave about. One can also eat at the restaurant in the animal section. Among the animals, the most entertaining are the Siamangs (Hylobates syndactylus), who seem to be great acrobats and their non-stop antics can keep a crowd gaping for hours.

Extremely beautiful birds are the Golden Pheasant, Silver Pheasant, Lady Amhearst Pheasant and the Impeyan Pheasant besides the superb Common Peafowl. Other birds of interest are the lone African Ostrich, which constantly paces up and down taking graceful steps with her large feet; the White Rumped Vulture, which likes to stretch its large wings apparently to catch the sun’s heat; Sarus Crane, which are among the endangered species; the beautiful lorikeets and many more. Ideal place to take your children, the zoo is open from 10am – 5pm but closes at 4pm during the winter (from mid-Nov). It remains closed on Mondays.

Entrance for foreigners: Adults- NRs 100/-, Children below ten- NRs 30/-,
For Nepalis:  Adults- NRs 25/-, Children below ten- NRs 10/-, Elephant ride inside Zoo- NRs 100/