Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden
also known as Sakkarbaug Zoo
or Junagadh Zoo
is a 200 hectares (494.2 acre) zoo
A zoological garden, zoological park, menagerie, or zoo is a facility in which animals are confined within enclosures, displayed to the public, and in which they may also be bred....
that opened in 1863 at Junagadh
Junagadh is the headquarters of Junagadh district in the Indian state of Gujarat. The city is the 7th largest in Gujarat. The city is located at the foot of the Girnar hills, 355 km south west of state capital Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad. The city is in western India. Literally translated,...
, India. The zoo provides purebred Asiatic lions
The Asiatic lion also known as the Indian lion, Persian lion and Eurasian Lion is a subspecies of lion. The only place in the wild where the lion is found is in the Gir Forest of Gujarat, India...
for the Indian and the international endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...
Captive breedingis the process of breeding animals in human controlled environments with restricted settings, such as wildlife reserves, zoos and other conservation facilities; sometimes the process is construed to include release of individual organisms to the wild, when there is sufficient...
program for the critically endangered species. Wild free ranging Asiatic lions have become extinct over most of Asia and are today found only in the nearby Gir Forest.
The Sakkarbaug Zoo was established in 1863.
In 2003 the zoo opened a natural history museum in a large hall in the veterinary hospital. The museum opened with the skeletons of two Asiatic lions, as well as panther, deer, wild boar, antelope, black buck, blue bull, and spotted deer. Eggs, beaks, and feathers of various birds were also on display. The museum will be expanded as specimens become available.
In 2008 the Sakkarbaug Zoo Management Advisory Society (initially with 10 members) was formed to develop and manage the zoo and its finances.
In 2009, Sakkarbaug Zoo became the only zoo in India to hold African cheetah
The cheetah is a large-sized feline inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East. The cheetah is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx, most notable for modifications in the species' paws...
s when it traded three of its lions with a Singapore zoo for two pairs of cheetahs. The last cheetah at the zoo had died over 60 years ago in 1946.
In 2011 the zoo received Indian gaur
The gaur , also called Indian bison, is a large bovine native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. The species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986 as the population decline in parts of the species' range is likely to be well over 70% over the last three generations...
, Malabar giant squirrels, marmoset
Marmosets are the 22 New World monkey species of the genera Callithrix, Cebuella, Callibella, and Mico. All four genera are part of the biological family Callitrichidae. The term marmoset is also used in reference to the Goeldi's Monkey, Callimico goeldii, which is closely related.Most marmosets...
s and green pheasants
The Green Pheasant, Phasianus versicolor, also known as Japanese Pheasant, is native to the Japanese Archipelago, to which it is endemic. The male is distinguished from that species by its dark green plumage on the breast and mantle. The male also has an iridescent violet neck, red bare facial...
from Mysore Zoo
Mysore Zoo is a zoo located near the palace in Mysore, India. It is one of the oldest and most popular zoos in Southern India, and is home to a wide range of species. Mysore Zoo is one of the city’s most popular attractions...
in exchange for a pair of Asian lions. At this time, the zoo claimed to have 40 lions and lionesses in their genetic pool.
The zoo has been criticized for the size of some of its enclosures, but claims that it is in the process of upgrading them to meet the standards of the Central Zoo Authority of India
The Central Zoo Authority of India is the body of the government of India responsible for oversight of zoos. It is an affiliate member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums ....
(CZA), and hopes to be done by 2013.
In 2008 the zoo was home to 525 mammals (30 per cent of which are under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Act), 597 birds (10 per cent of which are under Schedule-I), and 111 reptiles, housed in 100 enclosures.
In 1998 the Central Zoo Authority of India expanded the captive breeding program for Asiatic lions to include 10 other zoos. The program is jointly managed by the CZA and the Sakkarbaug Zoo, which is the largest breeding center, with nearly 150 lions having been bred by 2008.
The zoo is part of the breeding program for white-backed vultures
The White-backed Vulture is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. It is closely related to the European Griffon Vulture, G. fulvus...
. The first chick from this effort were born at the zoos Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centre in February 2011.