Calcutta Snake Park

Calcutta Snake Park
India     West Bengal     Kolkata

Calcutta Snake Park was established on 2nd October 1977. It was inaugurated by Mr. Parimal Mitra (Honorable Minister of Forest, Govt. of West Bengal) and Mr. Ram Chatterjee (Honorable Minister of Civil Defense, Govt. of West Bengal) who was the chief guest. Calcutta Snake Park was founded by Mr. Dipak Mitra. Being a young wildlife enthusiast with a special affinity towards reptiles he was maintaining 4-5 boxes of snakes in his garden of his ancestral home in Badu. Snakes were wildly feared all over the country as being potential human killers. Although Hindu religion and culture paid high respect to snakes yet the terrifying stories of snakes hunting down people to kill them have corrupted their reputation. Snakes other than those exhibited by snake-charmers were killed at first sight. Also snakes and other reptiles were hunted down by people to support the leather and other industries. India was rich in reptiles but poaching and habitat loss has decimated their population. It was under these adverse circumstances that Mitra felt the need to do something for conservation of these beasts. The local people being curious used to regularly visit with their guest to the garden to see Mitra's collection of serpents. Feeling disturbed, Mitra blocked the entrance to his garden with a bamboo gate and surrounded the perimeter with bamboo fencing. Although, this prevented people to cause frenzy for a while but at last curiosity got the better out of them. They started requesting Mitra to exhibit the snakes to them and their guests. Thus further few boxes were made and a few more snakes were kept. But interested people kept coming in and causing disturbances. Hence to avoid people Mitra started charging 19 p from each visitor as entry fees. This plan was supposed to keep people away but instead people kept pouring in to see the snakes. Thus seeing people's interest on snakes Mitra constructed one snake pit and few more boxes under a thatched hut shed. To keep up with the expenses the entry fees were gradually increased to 25p and then to 50p. Then another small snake pit was constructed. Consequently, Mitra received a permit from the forest department to keep snakes and other animals. This laid the foundation based on which the garden was converted to Calcutta Snake Park officially. From then on, Calcutta Snake Park has developed into a major zoological facility in India. At that time the park contained two snake pits and one lizard pit.

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