M. C. Zoological Park, Chhat Bir, Punjab

1. Introduction

Chhat Bir once shooting reserve of the Maharaja of Patiala, is today a wildlife heaven. It was on 13th April, 1977 that a Zoo was inaugurated here by the then Hon’ble Governor of Punjab Shri Mahendra Mohan Chaudhury, and it was christened as Mahendra Chaudhury Zoological Park. The Zoo which had small number of animals brought from Guwahati Zoo, Assam to start with, groomed through the time as the largest zoo in Northern India, planned and developed keeping in view the latest trends in the management of wildlife in captivity. It was designed in such a manner that the natural look and floral richness of the forests were fully utilized.
A lion safari, a drive-in deer safari, a shallow lake, landscaped lush green lawns and near-natural forest environment are the hallmarks of this zoo. This zoo houses about 82 species of reptiles/animals/birds, some of which are rare and endangered. The total livestock population in this zoo is about 850.

2. Zoo Geography

The Zoo is situated in Bir Chhatbir about 20 Km. from Chandigarh and 50 Km. from Patiala on Chandigarh-Patiala Road and is spread over an area of 202 ha. It is located on the right bank of river Ghaggar with Shiwalik hills in the background. The open countryside all around zoo provides vast opportunity to the naturalists to take a close look at nature and natural resources in original form. The place is ideally suited for the study of local fauna and flora.

3. Zoo Vegetation

A great variety of trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses constitute zoo vegetation. Some of the indigenous tree species such as Shisham, Acacias, Lasura, Mulberry, Jamun, Cassias, Kadam, Eucalyptus, Parkinsonia etc. occur in the area which give a natural forest look to the landscape. Tall reeds of Saccharum have also found a niche in zoo forest with their swaying leaves supporting perching sunbird. Also growing in this natural forest are the Murrayas, Xanthiums, Cynodons and a lot more.

4. Status of Animals and Birds in M.C. Zoological Park, Chhatbir

a) Mammals

1 Antelope four horned Tetracerus quadricornis 14 Deer sambar Cervus unicolor
2 Bear Himalayan black Selenarchos thibetanus 15 Deer spotted Axis axis
3 Bear sloth Melursus ursinus 16 Deer swamp Cervus duavauceli
4 Blue bull Boselaphus tragocamelus 17 Elephant Indian Elephus maximus
5 Buck black Antelope cervicapra 18 Gaur Bos gaurus
6 Buck white  Antelope cervicapra 19 Goral Memorhaedus hodgsoni
7 Buffalo cape African Syocerus catter 20 Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibus
8 Chimpanzee Pan tragodytes 21 Hyaena Hyaena hyaena
9 Chinkara Indian Gazzela bennetti 22 Jackal Canis aureus
10 Civet cat Paradoxurus hemaphroditus 23 Jaguar Panthera onca
11 Deer barking Muntiacus muntjak 24 Langur capped Presbytis pileatus
12 Deer brow antlered Cervus eldi 25 Langur common Presbyties entellus
13 Deer hog Axis porcinus 26 Leopard cat Felis bengalensis
27 Leopard/Panther Panthera pardus 34 Otter smooth Indian Lutra perspicillata
28 Lions Indian Panthera leo persica 35 Porcupine Hystrix indica
29 Macaque Assamese Macaca assamensis 36 Siamese cat Felis sp.
30 Macaque bonnet Macaca radiata 37 Tiger Bengal Panthera tigris
31 Macaque lion tailed Macaca silenus 38 Tiger white Panthera tigris
32 Macaque pig tailed Macaca enmestrina 39 Zebra Equus burchelle
33 Macaque rhesus Macaca mulatta  

Mammals as per Schedule prescribed under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

Schedule Male Female Un-sexed Total
I 33 60 6 99
ii 59 45 3 107
iii 48 59 42 149
Others 10 4 0 14
Total 150 168 51 369

b) Birds

1 Barn owl  Tyto alba 20 Partridge Black Francolinus francolinus
2 Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus 21 Partridge Grey Francolinus pondicerianeus
3 Cockatoo Sulpher Crested Kokatoe galerita 22 Peafowl Indian Pavo cristatus
4 Cockatiel Grey Nymphicus hollandicus 23 Peafowl White Pavo cristatus
5 Crane Common Grus grus 24 Pelicans Rosy Pelecanus onocrotalus
6 Crane Sarus Grus antigone 25 Pheasant Golden Chrysolophus pictus
7 Dove Spotted Streptopelia chinensis 26 Pheasant Japanese Green Phasianus versicolor
8 Duck Brahminy Tadorna ferruginea 27 Pheasant Kalij Lophura leucomelana
9 Duck Combed Sarkidiornis melanotos 28 Pheasant Lady Amherst  Chrysolophus amherstiae
10 Duck Spot Bill Anas peocilorhyncha 29 Pheasant Mangolian Ring  Phasianus colchicus
11 Emu Dromiceius novahollandiae 30 Pheasant Silver Lophura nycthemerus
12 Fowl Red Jungle Gallus gallus 31 Pheasant Yellow Golden Chrysolophus sp.
13 Geese Barheaded Anser indicus 32 Pigeon Black  -
14 Geese Common Anser sp. 33 Pigeon White  -
15 Ibis White Threskironis acthiopica 34 Quail Common Coturnis coturnix
16 Macaw (Blue And Yellow) Ara ararauna 35 Shikra Accipiter badius
17 Parakeet Alexandrine Psittacula eupartria 36 Stork Black Necked Xenorhychus asiaticus
18 Parakeet Blossom Headed Psittacula roseate 37 Stork Painted Mycteria leucocephalus
19 Parakeet Rose Ringed Psittacula krameri 38 Zebra Finches Carpodacus erythrinus

Birds as per Schedule prescribed under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

Schedule Male Female Un-sexed Total
I 13 3 0 16
II 0 0 0 0
III 41 35 190 266
Others 15 10 93 118
Total 69 48 283 400

c) Reptiles

1 GHARIAL Gavialis gangeticus
2 CROCODILE Crocodilus palustris
3 PYTHON Python molurus
4 TORTOISE Geochelone sp.

Reptiles as per Schedule prescribed under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

Schedule Male Female Un-sexed Total
I 4 7 0 11
ii 0 0 0 0
iii 0 0 0 0
Others 6 0 3 9
Total 10 7 3 20

5. Timing and entry to the Zoo:

M.C. Zoological Park, Chhat Bir remains open on all days of the week except Mondays.  The timings of the zoo for visitors are 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM.  The zoo remains closed on 15th August, 2nd October, and 26th January.  vehicles are not allowed entry into the zoo.  The fee structure for entry in to the zoo is given below: Entry fees for various activities
Sr. No. name of Item
Entry Fee
(in Rs.)

For School Students:

(A) Primary school students (in groups)

20.00 Per Student


(B) High School students (in groups)

30.00 per Student

For Visitors:

A) Up to 3 years children

B) Children of age between 3 to 12 year 20 Per Child
C) Above 12 years 50 Rs Per Person
D) Trainees/Officers/Officials/Researchers of Forest schools/Colleges/Wildlife Institutes/ Forest Departments and Experts of Wildlife. Free
E) For physically handicapped persons including their vehicles
3. Commercial Video Films
4. Video Camera (amature use)  
5. Still Camera  
6. Correspondents with/without camera
7. Sponsored tours for residents of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh conducted by Indian Army for National Integration. 
8. Concession for the rates charged by Director Zoo to attract the visitors to the Zoo from schools/ colleges/other Institutions for spreading wildlife awareness.
No concession
9. Cycle 20
10. Lion Safari  
For School Students 50
For Common Visiotors 50
11. Deer safari Battery vehicle 50
  Primary school students(in Group) 20
High School students(in Group) 20
12. Ferry vehicle 50
13. Private Vehicle Not Allowed

6. Special attractions at the Zoo (i) Deer Safari:

The Zoo has a magnificent deer safari where Sambar, Spotted Deer, Black Buck and even Hog Deer roam together in a habitat having a lot of natural vegetation. The Deer Safari is spread over an area of 12 ha.

(ii) Lion Safari:

Lion Safari gives a thrill of life to the visitors where king of the jungle roams freely. The Lion Safari is spread over an area of 8 ha of natural forest having lion houses on edge. A Large number of Peacocks also roam freely inside the lion safari which give an added attraction to the visitors.

(iii) Zoo lake:

An artificial lake in the zoo is a unique feature and attracts large number of migratory birds during the winter months. There is park with magnificent green lush lawn besides zoo lake which gives added attraction to the lake.

7. Facilities/Information for Visitors:

There are three canteens, one ice cream parlour and one restaurant. Snacks, cold drinks, mineral water, ice creams and other eatables are provided at these points inside the zoo. Proper signage exists inside the zoo. The hoarding with photographs of local and migratory birds with their common and scientific names exist near the lake to make visitors aware of avifauna. Information boards depicting provisions of section 38J of Wildlife (Protection) Act have been installed at prominent places to inform the visitors of the consequences of teasing, feeding and molesting animals inside the zoo.
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