The long road to Nagaland Zoological Park

Morung Express News Feature
Dimapur | December 23

Tucked away from the bustling crowd, Nagaland Zoological Park is a stretch of endless road; with dried leaves and wild fruits crushing beneath your feet, it is the perfect place to unwind.

For a change, the Forest Range Officer at Rangapahar is our guide. And as we walk towards the animal enclosures, we come across the canteen where new furniture has been arranged. Made out of raw wood and artistically designed, this furniture was handmade by the Ranger himself. Behind the seats where we sit down for a cup of coffee is a trench which once used to be a railway track. I presume we will have a wooden bridge over the trench to cross over soon.

We walk towards the animal enclosure where, still kept in temporary dwellings, a porcupine, a kite, an eagle and two tortoises are in slumber except for two monkeys whose fun time has just begun. On the other side, a 15 feet long Python is coiled up inside a wooden box as its feed, a broiler hen, dances in the corner not aware of her fate.

Further down the road a monkey is tied to a tree, kept away from the other monkeys because she is “naughty.” The Ranger points out there are four capped langoors in the open. He instructs the keepers to locate them and as we crane our necks looking for them on top of big trees, we are told the four langoors are sitting on a Tamarind tree.

With long tails to help them jump better and keep balance, we spot the langoors walking on the branches of the tree. One boy from among a group of boys visiting the zoo screams, “Wow… so many imlis (tamarind)!!” The langoors are secondary. We are told these langoors feed on fruits and vegetables so there is no dearth of food for them. The array of botanical species also hovers over our heads while fruits and seeds drop on our heads. There is no way I can help asking “can we also eat this?”

The road ahead is still very long but my legs are aching to go home. Our outing ends as I think about how much prospect this forest reserve has… and maybe someday we will be trolling around in a buggy. There is still much to be done around the park and this place, if received with an open mind and heart, will be one among those where you can definitely strain your brains for pleasure.