Created in 1978, Sundarvan is recognised as a Mini Zoo by the Central Zoo Authority of India. It is popular for its snake rescue and snake awareness programmes.
Sundarvan received 81,102 visitors, including 34,225 (42.2%) children and 46,877 adults during the period. A total of 16021 students and 2107 teachers from 293 schools visited during this year.
Reptile Awareness Programmes were conducted for park visitors on every Sunday. It was carried out for 31 schools on other days, where about 2000 students and teachers participated. Sundarvan plays a very crucial role in sensitising and creating appreciation for wildlife, specially the lesser known species like snakes and other reptiles. These awareness programmes have directly led to considerable reduction in the killing of snakes by people, hence emphasising the conservation and wildlife educational role of this facility.
New Snake Enclosures
A pair of new snake houses with larger space to allow them free movement, and with due consideration for other factors such as safety of the animal keepers and enhancement of visitors’s experience, were made during this period. The Indian Rat Snake and Russell’s Viper are now kept in these enclosures.
Young Naturalists of Sundarvan
The annual membership programme for schools, ‘Naturalists of Sundarvan’, especially for students of classes 6 to 8 was continued this year too. This initiative aims to create a connection between the kids raised in an urban environment and their natural surroundings, through nurturing the innate curiosity within every child. Each programme is planned at a different location and is packed with hands-on learning modules, resource materials and immediate help of experts.
Fifty two young naturalists from St. Kabir School were enrolled for the academic year 2017-18. Apart from this, 15 students from Mahatma Gandhi International School, Ahmedabad, also participated with a special focus on birds, covering different activities such as introduction to the world of birds, food and feeding, breeding and bird watching field visits.
Riverside School Project
The Riverside School in Ahmedabad has carried out a student project with Sundarvan during this year. The students of grade 6 visited the zoo and conducted a survey among the visitors to identify activities they could take up. Based on their findings and considering the feasibility of undertaking, they have installed wayside signage, zoo map and given a facelift to the main gate at Sundarvan. Students of grade 4 had created a butterfly garden at our facility a few years back. These projects provide students practical hands-on experience and also send a message to the community that they can contribute to such public places.
Special Day Events
National Wildlife Week is celebrated across the country during October 2-8 to create awareness among the general public and instill in them a curiosity and passion about the wildlife of India. This year, Sundarvan celebrated the week with a series of events, starting with two wildlife quiz programmes on October 3, 2017: one in the morning for school students and another in the evening open to all. The Quiz Master for the school quiz, Mr. Bhushan Patel designed different rounds that encouraged participants to learn more about the wildlife of India and the world. The open quiz in the evening was conducted by Mr. Kushan Patel, founder of Ahmedabad Quiz Club. He brought in many topic-appropriate questions designed in exciting rounds by which not only participants but also the audience got to learn some amazing facts on flora and fauna, popular personalities who contributed to wildlife conservation and more. JK Laxmi Cement extended their generous support to carry out these quiz programmes.
On October 6, a programme called ‘CrOctober Friday’ to talk about an important member of wildlife – the crocs – was organised. The event started with a general introduction to reptiles, followed by the features of the crocodile, its feeding habits, breeding, parental care, conservation issues, etc. Later, their favourite food - fish - was fed to these mighty beasts in the presence of the participants. The interactive talk generated a lot of curiosity which facilitated the audience to ask many questions and clarify their doubts on crocodiles. The evening ended with the screening of the documentary ‘Here Be Dragons’.
The vivid colours of nature captured from different parts of Gujarat by one of our young volunteers Neel Panchal was exhibited for visitors from October 6-8. Mr. Ratilal Kansodaria, Principal, Sheth C. N. College of Fine Arts, Ahmedabad, inaugurated the event. Over 50 photographs of wildlife ranging from spiders to birds and mammals were exhibited on the occasion.
‘Lets Talk about Photography’, held on October 7, became a highly popular event. The programme was targeted towards photography enthusiasts with special interest in shooting wildlife. Mr Pavan Patel was the speaker of the day.
Other Educational Activities
Three different activities – ‘Young Naturalists’ for 8 to 12 year olds, ‘Zoo Keeper for a day’ for 10 to 15 year olds and ‘Mom and Me’ exploring the zoo for 4 to 7 year olds - were conducted during this summer. Over 100 children participated in these programmes. The winter programme with special focus on spiders attracted 175 kids who participated in batches. A significant attitude change towards the spider was found through the pre and post programme questionnaire survey.
Green birthday celebration for small children with various awareness activities were carried out for 13 children during this period. Around 300 people including children and adults participated in these birthdays. Discover Bat – a bat awareness programme consisting of a PowerPoint presentation, movie clippings, games, visit to the roost site (within Sundarvan campus) and observing bats feeding fruits - was conducted once for participants of mixed age group.
A bird watching trip to Pariej Wetland, Gujarat, was organised December 3. The participants, consisting both children and adults, showed a keen interest in observing the different birds in the wetland and noting down their names. CEE’s bird chart titled ‘Our Birds Our Friends’ was distributed to all as a resource material to encourage bird watching
Nature Discovery Centre, S.M. Road, Jodhpur Tekra, Ahmedabad 380 015, Gujarat, India
Established as a Centre of Excellence of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India.