Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden also known as Sakkarbaug Zoo or Junagadh Zoo is an 84-hectare (210-acre) zoo that opened in 1863 at Junagadh, Gujarat, India. The zoo provides purebred Asiatic lions for the Indian and the international endangered species captive breeding 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 by The Mohabat khanji Babi-II of Junagadh state. It is second oldest zoo of India and fourth biggest zoo in India.
Hippopotamus in the zoo
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 cheetahs 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, Malabar giant squirrels, marmosets and green pheasants from Mysore Zoo 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 (CZA), and hopes to be done by 2013.
How to get there
By Road: Private and state bus services are available from different junctions in the state.
By Rail: The town has a railway station that is connected to major cities in Gujarat.
By Air: The closest airports to Junagadh are Keshod (40 km) Porbandar (104 km) and Rajkot (105.3 km).