God doesn't like litterers
On Sunday, a few of us visited the Mysore Zoo. Personally, I am not a big fan of zoos and expected squalid conditions for the animals. However, this zoo went far beyond my expectations.
The zoo was bustling with school children and families looking at the animals, and, when spotting three white girls wandering through the crowds, turning and looking at us. We remarked to each other that we were drawing equal attention as some of the animals and when people took pictures of us, we felt a bit like zoo animals as well. As adolescent boys acted wildly to pester us and schoolgirls giggled profusely at everything we said to them, it didn’t feel too different from being in the US, despite having attracted our own little following around the zoo at some points.
Honestly this zoo had a lot of aspects that I think zoos across the US should incorporate as well. First, there is a strict no plastic policy. This means that when you are entering the zoo, they charge you 10 rupees for a sticker you place on your plastic bottle. Then, when you exit the zoo you can return the sticker for a refund. To me, this seemed like a really successful method because there was virtually no trash found on the ground there, which is a stark contrast to Bangalore and other major cities.
Second, the zoo had a very strong emphasis on education. There were many educational signs up around the zoo and posters encouraging people to learn about the wildlife and not just take selfies with the animals. The informational bulletins about the animals included source cited sections, even when the only source was Wikipedia. Furthermore, these signs even included graphics describing the waste management and storm water drainage at the zoo, which is not something I had seen explained elsewhere. Following these signs seemed like the sort of tour that we would have gotten if the Mysore Zoo was actually part of GCIL’s curriculum.
Finally, the zoo had a very clear path to follow with small inspirational signs along the way. These inspirational musings included “Go green to keep our globe clean” and ones basically insinuating that God doesn’t like litterers. Either way, it gave the message that the park really valued cleanliness.
In conclusion, my afternoon at the Mysore Zoo was surprisingly enthralling. I could see multiple types of elephants and learn about waste management. What more could a civil engineer want?