The Zoo Director Dr Alankar Jha, who has left for New Delhi to receive the award, told reporters yesterday that the Darjeeling Zoo has become the first zoo in India to be selected for the international award beating off competition from over 300 zoos worldwide.

The Earth Heroes award is annually awarded by the Royal Bank of Scotland in collaboration with the British government. Darjeeling Zoo was established in 1958 and is one of the largest high altitude zoos in the country at an elevation of 7,000 ft.

It has played a key and proactive role in promoting conservation and preservation of Himalayan fauna and flora and specializes in breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions, Dr Jha said.

The Darjeeling Zoo is one of the very few places that has successfully bred some of the rarest animals in the world in captivity including the majestic Snow Leopards, the Tibetan Wolf and the Red Pandas, the Director said.

The park is named after Padmaja Naidu (1900–1975), former Governor of West Bengal and daughter of national leader and poet Sarojini Naidu. The zoo serves as the central hub for Central Zoo Authority of India's Red Panda program and is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The award will be given in the capital on November 4.

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