The zoo in New Delhi is adequately prepared to battle the rising heat

From elusive white tigers to towering giraffes, the National Zoological Park, Delhi, has been home to a vast canvas of flora and fauna in the heart of the city. And since November 1, 1959, when it was inaugurated, the zoo authorities have been tackling the relentless summer heat which regularly gatecrashes its way into the city. While the wilderness does not take any conscious measures to provide respite from the ire of Mother Nature, the zoo authorities do.

While speaking about the steps undertaken to counter the heat wave, Riyaz Ahmed Khan, curator, National Zoological Park, says, “We have developed special ponds for the elephants and rhinos to help them cool down in the heat. The ponds allow them to soak in mud and relax while the morning sun fades away.”

Riyaz also elaborates on how closed enclosures of carnivores, jaguars in particular, have been modified while keeping in consideration the changed weather conditions, “The wooden platforms have been removed and a special acronite mat has been introduced to maintain the shade and to keep the enclosures cool.”

Temporary artificial ponds have been developed for the white tiger and the deer who have always been the prime attractions at undoubtedly the Capital’s favourite picnic spot. Riyaz also mentions an introduction, the cooling spray, a mechanism which simulates a rain like environment within the bird enclosures on a trial basis. Another enhancement for zoo inhabitants which the summer heat has brought is that of the updated bathing patterns. Large animals like buffaloes are bathed twice a day during the summer months.

The diet of animals has also undergone transformation to help them cope with the changing weather conditions. “Diet of herbivores has been tweaked to include seasonal vegetables such as cucumbers and papayas. The carnivorous animals would be consuming less food during these months, so their diet has undergone subsequent changes,” Riyaz says. “We have also started introducing glucose into the diet of the animals to keep them equipped for the summer season,” he adds.

Unforgiving as it may be, the summer heat fails to dissuade persistent younglings from catching a glimpse of their favourite fauna. Zoo director Amitabh Agnihotri, mentioning the steps undertaken to cater to guests who throng the zoo, says, “The zoo has ample shades and shelters, while keeping the summer in mind, we have increased the number of purified water outlets which would dispense water free of cost within the zoo premises.”

The zoological garden will always be a prime attraction for residents and guests to the Capital. “We are taking all measures, from installing coolers, to modifying the bird enclosures and have taken steps as per the requirement of the animals,” Agnihotri sums up.

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