Set up with an aim to conserve  endangered and rare species of wildlife through captive breeding, the Chhatbir Zoo is spread over an impressive 202 acre of raw scrubland. This makes it the biggest zoological park in north-western India and home to over 1,000 animal and bird species. The zoo also houses a significant number of primates, big cats and several varieties of deer and antelope. Visitors can spot animals like zebra, hippopotamus and crocodiles as well.

One of the achievements of the park has been the successful captive-breeding of the gharial, a critically endangered variety of crocodile. The gharial is a majestic reptile that is distinguished by its long and narrow snout. Birdwatchers flock to the zoo to spot a wide variety of pheasants, including the Mongolian and the white-crested Khaleej. The popular exhibits of the zoo include the reptile enclosure, which includes a python and a sand boa. The zoo also offers opportunities of lion and deer safaris that attract a lot of visitors. It is conveniently located merely 17 km from Chandigarh, near Zirakpur. It is a great spot for family outings, especially with children. 

The zoo was started in 1977 and was a part of the Chhatbir protected forest area. Officially, the name of the zoo is Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park but because it falls in the Chhatbir region, the locals have come to refer to it simply as the Chhatbir Zoo. 

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