Mysore Zoo, which was established in 1892 by Maharaja Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar Bahadur, has over two million people visiting annually and is a pioneering breeding centre of over 100 species including endangered, rare, exotic and indigenous species. A wide variety of education programs reach 30,000 students, teachers, and volunteers each year.
Mysore Zoo hosts a 10-day long Summer Camp targeting 12-18 year old students. Many important topics are covered including water for life, plants, environmental problems, nature parks, wildlife sanctuaries, conservation and community reserves, study of captive animals, and animal behavior. Professionals in the zoo field are invited to share their experiences with the students. Field practicals include animal holding room cleaning, animal feeding, interactions with animal keepers, elephant bathing and feeding, and the study of different types of wildlife clues e.g.: scat dropping, dung, pellets, and footprints. Students also visit Karanji Lake Nature Park and Regional Museum of Natural History, which are adjacent to the Zoo.
Youth Club is one of the most unique and popular education programmes of this zoo. The goal of the Club is to encourage children and teenagers, ages 12-18, to maintain a healthy relationship with nature, as well as to make healthy lifestyle choices. During this program, students have a chance to learn from biologists and scientists. The topics include urban animal behavior, wildlife, reptiles, spiders, ants, clouds, butterflies, plants, herbivores, carnivores, personality development, demonstration of tranquilization equipments, monsoon and clouds, and marine biology. The students also participate in hands-on activities such as feeding, vermi-composting and gardening. They also have a chance to visit local parks such Chamundi Hills and Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.
Zoo Inreach and Outreach Programmes
On Tuesday, a regular zoo holiday, students and teachers are invited to the zoo to learn more about wildlife and zoo activities. During these special visits, the groups participate in a guided visit led by zoo staff who share great amounts of information on the animals and plants. These groups often include underserved groups who may be visiting the zoo for the first time. The Mysore Zoo is the first zoo in the country to launch this unique programme.
Each year on June 5th, the zoo celebrates World Environment Day, to inspire everyone to conservation action.
Mysore Zoo celebrates Wildlife Week from October 1st-7th every year to create awareness about local wildlife, threats, and conservation action. This wildlife week coincides with the World Habitat Day on October 3rd and Animal Welfare Day on October 4th.Some of the activities during this week are a wildlife photography competition and exhibition and bird watching at Karanji Lake Nature Park.
The Zoo also hosts various competitions throughout the year to engage citizens in zoo activities. The competitions include drawing, painting, essays, and bird identification.
Mysore Zoo offers a training course to forestry students of Ponnampet Forestry College. The course focuses on zoo signage, visitors’ survey, animal enrichment, and gaur breeding.
The Zoo has an internship for students at the Veterinary Training College, Hebbal, Bangalore and the Pondicherry Veterinary College.
For the last 7 years, Mysore Zoo has hosted the Animal Keepers Training Programme for the keepers of different zoos. Topics include improving working conditions, teaching crisis management, animal enrichment, visitor interaction, and management of birds and pheasants in captivity. This course has brought about a recognizable change in the zoo.
The zoo has held many successful Teachers’ Training Programmes, for teachers from Mysore and neighboring rural areas. The teachers are taken out of the lecture room setting and into a more hands-on learning experience complimented with zoo rounds, educational games, and a field trip to Karanji Nature Park. The course ends with feedback and evaluation. The two day session is designed to assist teachers in integrating conservation sciences into their classroom. The course was designed to be interactive hoping that teachers will return to the classroom with more strategies and ideas for teaching, including using the zoo as a resource and partner.
The Mysore Zoo recognizes that many conservationists began their career as volunteers. By offering a volunteer program, the Zoo is able to spark a passion in the volunteers while also creating a larger staff to accomplish the Zoo’s goals. After orientation, zoo volunteers assist in organizing educational activities, data collection such as the visitors’ survey, zoo patrolling, crisis management and arranging exhibitions, seminars, and conferences.