New Delhi: Aiming to be among the top-10 zoos in the world, the National Zoological Park in Delhi has planned to introduce virtual reality technology allowing visitors to "get closer" to animals and a GPS-based mobile application to make zoo visits more engaging and informative.*
Virtual reality headsets will allow visitors to see the animals up-close. People will find themselves standing next to a tiger, hugging a deer or caressing an elephant, Delhi Zoo Director Suneesh Buxy said.
"They will be able to see a lion hunting and playing in front of them and not just sitting under a tree.
" Top zoos around the world have turned to technology to make visitors' experience better. The government also wants the Delhi zoo to be among the top 10 across the world. Virtual reality and a mobile application are steps in that direction, he said.
Range Officer Saurabh Vashishtha said, "The technology will change people's perspective. It will allow visitors to interact with animals without disturbing them. It will be an exhilarating adventure."
With the GPS-based mobile application and bluetooth beacons, visits to the zoo will become more engaging and educative.
At present, boards placed outside every enclosure carry only limited information in the form of text and pictures. The mobile application will engage visitors with text, pictures, audio and video content about the inhabitants of the zoo.
"Visitors spend a large part of their time in the zoo locating the animals, finding the right direction etcetera. Many a time, they go back with not-so-good experience. The mobile application will set it right.
"Download the application and put on your headphones, it will be that simple. Using beacon technology, the app will tell visitors what's on their left, right, ahead. On reaching the enclosure, it will provide all information related to the animal — its habitat, food, behaviour and others," Buxy said.
The ideas have been discussed and tenders will be floated within the next three months, he said.