Dhaka Zoo is the largest zoo in Bangladesh situated at Mirpur, about 16 km from the centre of Dhaka city. It is the National Zoo under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, started as a menagerie at the High Court premises in Dhaka in 1964, and moved to its present location in 1974. In the same year it was ceremonially opened for public on June 23, the zoo occupies an area of about 75 hectares.
It has two lakes named ‘The Nothern Lake’ and ‘The Southern Lake’ which are of about 13 hectares receiving thousands of waterfalls every year in winter. Dhaka National Zoo Lakes have always been a prime destination for visitors as they possess great variety of fish like rohu, catla, mrigal, kalibaus, catfish etc. The Nothern lake being bigger than the Southern lake, is the most preferred lake for fishing by the visitors.
The total number of vertebrate fauna in the zoo is about 2,150 in 191 species. Included in these animals are about 551 mammals under 64 species, 1,543 birds under 90 species, 73 reptiles under 15 species, and about 104 aquarium fishes under 23 species. To attract visitors besides many fascinating animals, there are 15 tigers, 21 lions, 9 hippopotamus, about 200 monkeys and 33 pythons. Moreover, some rare and interesting animals such as the rhea, peacock, zebra, elephant, African grey parrot, water buck, impala, emus, baboon, chimpanzee, gayal, black bear, tapir, mandrill, and estuarine crocodile provide additional entertainment to visitors.
About 3 million visitors visit the Zoo every year. Except Sunday the zoo remains open on other weekdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (October-March) and from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm (April-September). It also remains opens to the visitors for certain hours during government holidays. The beautiful natural environment of the zoo offer almost all recreational facilities to the visitors, a large part of which is constituted by students and children. There is an information center at the entrance. The visitors can seek any necessary information there. Even wheel chairs are available for old and disabled persons. The zoo has an advisory committee headed by the Minister, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.
The Zoo authority has taken initiative for projects of upgrading the zoo like – Safari Park, so that the animals may move openly and people would visit them within the protection of the cage. Another plan is providing battery regulated client cars for old people and children. The other plans include developing the children park of the zoo, to thrive the zoo museum and starts zoo education. A new dolphin corner and a butterfly garden will be set up at Dhaka Zoo to attract more visitors. A visit to Dhaka Zoo is not only entertaining, but educational too, as visitors get to know more about animals found in Bangladesh, as well as animals from other parts of the world.